This past summer while vacationing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, my husband and I and my brother and his girlfriend were traveling back to our resort when a drunk driver rounded a blind corner wildly out of control. We had only a second to react and brace ourselves for the inevitable collision.
The impact caused the drunk driver's vehicle to roll and pushed our vehicle backward through an intersection. Both vehicles were totaled. The 55-year-old female driver suffered a scratch to her arm while her 80-year-old passenger was air-lifted to a trauma unit. My husband had a broken sternum, a fractured tailbone, and was bruised from neck to knee. The rest of us suffered from concussions, bruising, cuts, tendon tears, and headaches.
We survived. We are lucky, but we are not the same. I wanted to move forward and return to normalcy, but the path forward didn’t unfold the way I hoped. The echoes of screams, faint pleas for help, the scent of deployed airbags and motor fluids, and the visions of twisted vehicles and contorted bodies linger within the depths of the subconscious.
Attempting to calm my emotional chaos, I began to research the other driver online and discovered that she and her passenger had a shady and slippery past. I learned that she had a DUI in 2021 and other dubious things were uncovered. I was enraged that she was drunk and behind the wheel that night.
Since the accident four months ago, I have struggled to release my rage toward her for hurting me and my family. I am not proud of this, but I’ve even entertained thoughts of hunting her down to seek physical revenge. This makes me even angrier because it’s not who I was before her choices negatively and profoundly impacted my world.
As a life coach and creator of a coaching model and philosophy that is rooted in the power of choice and the intentional act of forgiveness, I felt like a fake. I encourage my clients to “move their ego above the line” into acceptance and gratitude, but I couldn’t follow my own advice, which made me an imposter.
As I'm working through this chapter and the emotional chaos it has created, I realize how difficult it can be to live *above the line* by choosing to forgive. This experience has taught me that choices are nuanced and complex – and often more difficult than we let ourselves believe.
My THRIVE coaching model (formerly the Powerful Perspectives) breaks it down and makes it look easy. Believe me when I say I wish it was easy – but the truth is that choosing to THRIVE instead of just survive requires context and a deep commitment to seek understanding about choices that may or may not serve us well and force us to stay stuck.
I wrestle with judgment and victimhood (below-the-line living). I convince myself that revenge will make me feel better. My logical mind knows this is not true, but my survival mind works overtime to justify my resentment.
The truth is that no thought or act motivated by ego, fear, or anything below the line will lead to a powerful perspective. It will only lead to more suffering.
My hubby is doing great, my physical body is healing, but I haven’t yet been able to forgive. I have stopped wishing for her pain and suffering and I’m calling that progress. I acknowledge that I have more work to do to move above the line so that’s where I’m leaving this today.
The work is deeply personal and motivated by the desire to thrive. My perspective may not yet be powerful, but I’d rather speak my ugly truth to uncover what it's teaching me than pretend that "letting it go" will make it heal.
True healing cannot happen without truth. Inside the work of unpacking that truth, we create the capacity to let it go. The increased capacity settles the internal chaos.
We don't let it go and then heal. Healing isn't a passive release; it's an active and conscious decision to embark on a journey toward healing. It takes more than the passage of time; it requires a deliberate intention to embrace a transformative and powerful perspective that leads us to thrive.
Have an emotional *chaos creator* (a difficult person) in your life? They exist everywhere and sometimes aren't aware of the chaos they create for others (and themselves).
I’ve taken the best from coaching practices and curated world-class training and development programs to create something that takes the guesswork out of how to manage the chaos creators and the emotional chaos they incite - with kindness and *boundaried* compassion.
Link here to Download my free toolkit >>> (then scroll to the bottom of the page).