Many around the country are grieving the recent loss of Elizabeth Edwards, former wife of politician John Edwards. Theirs was a relationship full of scandal and intrigue and a lot of folks seem to be crudely obsessed with the details of her misfortune.
Despite the ups and downs of her personal life, Elizabeth Edwards drew strength from a strong circle of supporters that included close confidentes, her children and good friends. She built a fortress of support for herself in the last days of her illness, even giving a public statement about death and leaving that was poignant and personal. Coming through was a subtle message about letting go and forgiveness:
“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that the simple act of living with hope , and in the daily act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact on the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious.”
I didn’t know Edwards or any of her family, but I can sense she may have followed these tips for finding peace before dying:
She cut herself some slack when it came to her emtional state. Who wouldn’t be a wreck over watching your love life take a turn for the worst on national TV? Who wouldn’t have anger when the person you loved the most blatantly lied to you in public and private for long periods of time? Yet Edwards managed to be composed and capable when questioned about it. She understood she was human.
She had an unwavering belief in the hope of something better and focused her energy on finding it. Edwards denied the power of the media to influence her personal reactions. She affirmed that support was there for her and that there was a purpose for it all. She denied the outer world’s impact on her personal reality and understood the only fight in front of her was the one for her life with her children and friends.
She recognized that forgiving someone isn’t about letting them off the hook for their bad behavior, it’s about taking back your own power and reclaiming the life you truly want. Understanding that letting go was going to give her more freedom to receive a good death, Edwards took control of her life even in her death. She practiced forgiveness.
How about you? How can the powers of hope and forgiveness serve you in your life and your business? In this season of possibilities and preparation for the New Year, what would you need to let go of so that you can have your own positive impact on the world?