I had the amazing opportunity to spend five days at the Mirival Arizona last fall. It is the perfect place to reflect, relax and think about your purpose and passions in life. I strongly believe that every woman should be able to experience the resort at some time in her life. During my stay, I was able to work through the intense sense of loss and pain that I was still feeling from the death of my stepfather three and a half years before. I learned a lot about myself, and what drives my decisions and choices. Most importantly, I found a sense of peace about where I was in my life and understood that it was exactly where I needed to be. As a general rule, I’m not a person who does regret. I see no purpose in spending time rehashing my past decisions or choices. Ironically, I discovered that I was letting the choices and decisions of others impact me so significantly that I was feeling suffocated and overwhelmed. Being able to recognize and then learn how to release myself of that made me feel lighter and stronger than I had felt in years. My life was irrevocably changed during my time in the desert, and I am so very grateful for that. I learned so much in such a short time and I want to share some of the highlights with you and hope they may be insightful to you. Own Your Half The death of my stepfather is, by far, the darkest time in my life. Losing someone you love deeply is soul shattering. Unfortunately, the circumstances leading up to my stepdad’s death compounded the hurt exponentially. He was my biggest supporter, my hero and the person I loved the most in this world. He fell from grace in such a blindsiding and shattering way and I had little time to reconcile this with him before he died. After his death, I struggled with the juxtaposition of my feelings for him. What helped me release my hurt and anger was when I was told that I could only take responsibility for 100 percent of my 50 percent of our relationship. Sounds simple, right? But think about how much time and energy we spend concerned about other people’s 50 percent —something we have no control over. When I let go of my anger over how he chose to handle his side of our relationship, I was able to re-embrace the memories and my love for the man who raised me. We’re Never Broken While it may not be apparent to others, I spent the last several years feeling completely shattered. The foundation of my life had been snatched out from under me and I felt as though everything I knew and believed was false. I questioned everything in my life and felt as though there was little in this world that I could trust. Wyatt Web, author of It’s Not About the Horse, candidly told me that while I may have gotten a few cracks over the past few years that I could never be broken. He walked me through the realities of my life and helped me see the perseverance with which I lived. I left our time together feeling like a victor instead of a victim. It’s amazing how viewing yourself through the eyes of someone else can totally change your perspective on your personal strength and will. Today, I refuse to allow the decisions of others to rob me of my self-worth. Introspection is Uncomfortable The weird thing about living your life in pain is that you can get used to it being there. As uncomfortable as it is, it is less scary than the unknown. Facing yourself and untangling your raw and uncensored feelings can be excruciating and terrifying. Unfortunately, it’s a process you have to go through to come out whole on the other side. I dug deeper than I ever thought I could. I cried, I wrote, I pushed my body physically, I made peace with myself and then I made decisions about what I wanted my future to look like. Most importantly, I forgave … myself and those I thought had wronged me. After five days, I looked myself deep in the eyes and I knew that I had made it through the worst and was still standing. Change is the only constant in this world and we never know what life will throw at us. Trust yourself and your ability to rise above whatever comes your way — after all, your track record is 100 percent so far.
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.