I have worked as a clinical psychologist for over twenty-five years and as a family law attorney for over twelve years.
In that time, I have witnessed people behaving at their best and I have seen people operating at their absolute worst.
I have watched people get stuck and unstuck.
I have watched hearts break and mend again.
I have watched people make horrendous decisions and beautiful ones, too.
I have witnessed real-life miracles, unfolding before my eyes.
The miracle of forgiveness. The miracle of self-confidence. The miracle of brave self-expression, despite decades of being told to “shut up.”
Hundreds, if not thousands of times, I have witnessed the greatest miracle of all: The miracle of unconditional love.
After all these years, now, more than ever before… I still believe that people can change.
Why? Because my clients prove it to me, every day.
And today? I want to share a few of their stories with you. (Names have been changed. But every single story is true.)
I believe that you can learn to forgive, and let go, no matter what. @DrSuzanneGelb
(Click to Tweet!)
I believe… because of Aaron.
Aaron resented his father for being so controlling while he was growing up, and for wanting to mold him in a certain way (“You’ll become a doctor or a lawyer!”) rather than letting him have his own identity. For the longest time, Aaron was angry at his father, and didn’t want anything to do with him.
Then, when Aaron’s father was diagnosed with cancer, and needed his son to be his full-time caregiver, Aaron learned how to forgive… and let go of a twenty year old grudge.
With forgiveness came the opportunity to share love and compassion, until the very end — when the father died in the loving embrace of his son.
I believe that you can find the courage to date & fall in love again.
I believe… because of Cynthia.
Cynthia had a history of bad relationships. She kept choosing partners who were emotionally unavailable and who betrayed her. At one point, she’d been burned so many times that she’d nearly given up hope. “No more,” she said. “I can’t face another rejection.”
Six years later, after getting counseling and learning to rewrite the unhealthy scripts that were prompting her to choose “unavailable” men, she found the courage to date again, and to be open to love. True love. She found it.
I believe that you can be an amazing parent, regardless of how your own parents took care of you. (Or failed to take care of you.)
I believe… because of Anne.
Anne was raised by alcoholic parents. As an adult, she vowed never to have kids. “I’d be a terrible mother!” she said.
As fate would have it, she met a wonderful man who wanted a family. Slowly, through counseling and hard work, she overcome her fear of being a “bad mother,”primarily by learning to re-parent herself. By giving herself the unconditional love that she never received from her own parents, she was able to heal the places inside of her that still felt like a frightened child, needing love.
Today, Anne has two healthy, well-adjusted kids and a beautiful family.
She is not repeating the patterns of her own parents. She knows that she can do better. And she is.
I believe that you can leave behind an unfulfilling career and step into one that excites you. At any age.
I believe… because of Susan.
Susan had been stuck in the same job for over two decades. In her heart, she knew she needed to make a change. She felt stagnant and unmotivated. But her head gave her 50 million reasons why she should stay put.
At the same time, she felt called to go back to school. It took the equivalent of an act of Congress for her to fill out the college application. But she found the strength to do it.
Today, she holds an advanced degree, and she’s doing work that she absolutely loves. She’s living proof that it’s never too late — or too scary — to find a vocation that means something to you.
I believe that you can overcome jealousy and stop resenting other people’s success.
I believe… because of Kate.
For years, Kate had a real problem with jealousy. In her world, everyone else had what she wanted. Most of the time, she felt disappointed with herself and resentful of other people’s achievements.
Eventually, she’d had enough. She didn’t want to live in a cloud of perpetual bitterness any longer, and decided to change the storyline in her mind. She began to appreciate her own unique skills and talents, and feel better about herself, instead of constantly comparing herself to others.
As she strengthened her self-worth, her bitterness melted away. Other people’s achievements became a source of motivation for her – “I’m inspired by his success. I’m ready to play a bigger game, too!” — rather than a source of pain.
Kate is no longer burdened by resentment. She’s on top of the world.
I believe that you can learn to speak up and express yourself, bravely, no matter how many times you’ve been “silenced” in the past.
I believe… because of Gloria.
Gloria was raised in another culture, where females are required to be quiet and submissive. She came to the United States and met and married an extremely domineering man. But she had a fiery spirit which began to express itself in their relationship. Her husband didn’t like that.
He brought her to counseling, hoping that she would learn to tame her feisty nature and know her place, as a wife.
But that’s the opposite of what happened.
The more that Gloria got in touch with her true identity, the more she learned to honor her inner fire. It took a great deal of courage, but finally, she was able to turn her back on her culture, end a constricting relationship with her husband, and embrace her spirit, her soul, her personality…completely.
For the first time in her life, Gloria is no longer afraid to speak up. No longer afraid to be herself. She is free. She feels whole.
Because of Aaron, Cynthia, Anne, Susan, Kate, Gloria and hundreds of other clients, too…
Because of everyone, everywhere, who has decided to trade in a life driven by anger, guilt and fear for a life fueled by Love, and who has done the hard and necessary work to make it happen…
Because of my own transformation…
And because of people like you…
I know, without question, that people can change.
After all these years, YES. Absolutely.
What’s one thing you are working on changing, right now?
Dr. Suzanne Gelb is a psychologist, life coach and family law attorney who believes that Love is the answer to every question. Her insights on personal growth have been featured on more than 200 radio programs, 100 TV interviews and online at The Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, The Muse, Tiny Buddha, and more. Step into her virtual office at DrSuzanneGelb.com and sign up to receive a soothing meditation and her weekly writings on health, happiness and self-respect. You can also follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of Joshua Earle.