by Melanie Goble DVM
What does forgiveness mean? According to Wikipedia, “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”
Wikipedia goes on to discuss that it is not the same as condoning, forgetting, or repairing of a relationship, it is letting go of the negativity. There is the saying that holding onto anger and not forgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Holding that negativity in, poisons yourself and does nothing to the other person. Why do it?
On September 11, 2014, I was hurt. For the past one and a half years, I had worked hard to help build up the clinic that I was working at as an associate. I did everything I could to help make a difference in the lives of the patients and clients within the community. That Thursday night, I was fired. There was no warning. There was no explanation. All I was told was that “it just didn’t work out.” The clinic was closing and I had to collect all of my belongings and leave. I cried as I filled boxes with my books and supplies. I had no idea what to do. I was the sole wage earner in my family.
I took three days to wallow in my self-pity, to be angry, sad, and scared.
On the fourth day, I was driving to go and visit a clinic so that I could give the clinic owner a break. I still had many unanswered questions, and I had a lot of self-doubt. How could I fix something if I didn’t know what needed to be fixed? At that moment, I made the decision to let it go, to forgive. By letting go and forgiving the practice owner, I opened myself up for new adventure and more success than I could have imagined.
One month later, on October 17, 2014, I opened my own relief business, Renewed Strength Veterinary Services, LLC, with the intention of helping veterinarians take the time off they need to renew their strength in mind, body, and soul. I was very tempted that December to send a “thank you” post card while I was providing relief services in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but decided that would not be in the spirit of forgiveness. I have had the opportunity to work away from home, including a total of 5 months in the Virgin Islands and 2 months in Alaska. I have had more time to travel to England to visit my sister and her family and to visit friends in the American south west while also working with the Navajo Nation on a spay and neuter project. In some ways, I work more, but my stress is generally less.
I don’t know if my former employer has wondered where I am or what has happened to me, or even if they care, and that is alright. Although I forgave the individual, in the end, forgiveness was meant to free me. If you are reading this, Former Employer, I forgive you and I wish you luck in the future.
Forgiveness sets you free from the poison that is held within you when you retain that anger and resentment from a situation. For each of you reading, I hope and pray that if you have that seed (or giant sequoia) of anger and resentment, please consider forgiveness. Release the pain so that you may be free! Do not let that person or situation hold you back from pursuing the wonderful life that you deserve!!!
Do you have a story of forgiveness (of yourself or someone else) that you would be willing to share with us? If so, please let us know and you may have a chance to be featured here on The Daily Dose, a blog dedicated to self-care and empowerment of individuals so that we may one day celebrate Not One More Vet as a reality, not just a goal.
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.