Letting go

'How to let go', by Greg Alder

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes a thousand-tonne catastrophe comes thundering out of nowhere to spin us around, disorient us, flatten us.

What happens next is largely dependent on the answer to one question: was the catastrophe natural and accidental or was it man-made and willful?

If natural, we accept it. But if someone set out to hurt us, we can be scarred for life. We are filled with feelings of indignation, anger, victimisation, betrayal and retribution.

We wish the perpetrators harm. And harm is usually caused. But not to them. To us.

A few years ago we went into business with friends we’d known for 15 years. We went in as innocents, trusting our friends’ greater experience in the business sector.

Within weeks of signing contracts, we discovered the friends didn’t have the money to invest that they said they did. Within eighteen months, we discovered they were voiding sales and pocketing the difference. Within two years we discovered false bank statements and a secret bank account that once held tens of thousands of dollars, but now was empty.

We were in shock. We couldn’t believe that friends would do this to friends. When we confronted our partners, they showed no remorse. Realising that their game was up, they set out to cause us as much financial harm as possible.

They did a good job.

They did an even better job of damaging us emotionally. We were wrecks, emotionally and physically. My wife Sharon’s weight dropped to 45 kilos. She underwent surgery 10 times in a year. We both received counselling for depression.

We were possessed with a desire to see these ex-friends hurt as they had hurt us. We wanted justice, with a passion.

As long as we felt this, we couldn’t move on. We replayed the past. It was on a loop. The present was invisible to us, the future unimaginable.

Some people carry grudges right through life. We carried ours about 2 years.

With time, we overcame our negative emotions. We rejoined the present. We started to see opportunities. They might have always been there, but we were blind.

We started getting ideas again. Grand ideas. We now found we had the energy to develop them. To be honest, we currently have more big projects on the go than we have time for. We’re working seven days a week to get things done. We get tired. But we’re driven by the excitement of possibilities.

To move forward, we had to let go of the past. We had to leave the emotional baggage behind.

I have discovered that experiences like ours are frighteningly common. Perhaps someone has willfully set out to hurt you in some way. Maybe it still plays on your mind to this day. I encourage you to get whatever help you need to get over it. I can write from experience that moving on isn’t easy, but it can be done. And when that happens, you will emerge stronger than before.

We still pass these ex friends every now and then as we drive around. We passed them last week. Sharon said, “You know, I just don’t feel anything for them any more.” And that’s how it is.

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