Life coach teaches lesson of forgiveness
For years, Samantha Smith was angry at her father, George, for dying. In a month, she would have turned 12; she was also excited about graduating from primary school.
“He’d been sick for a year or two and always rallied,” she said.
When her father died from lymphoma, in June 1994, she was devastated.
“I felt like, ‘Why couldn’t you rally this time at least to see me graduate’?” she said.
“I felt like he’d left me when I needed him the most. I also felt a lot of guilt for feeling that way.”
The 35-year-old later had a hard time trusting men.
“I always thought they’d leave me,” she said.
“There were some people who wanted to be a father figure to me, and I wasn’t having it.”
A life coaching course helped her come to terms with her feelings. “I started taking a coaching course in 2012,” the programming supervisor at Pride Bermuda said.
“I was looking around for something I could do to help people and someone told me about life coaching and it sounded just right.
“Coaching takes you from where you are now and looks at solutions to move you forward. That really resonated with me.”
The course ran across three three-day weekends in Boston.
“I was being coached by one of my fellow students,” she said. “One day we just went back to her hotel room.
“I said I needed help with some things I was working through. I really made a breakthrough. I realised all that anger had been stopping me from moving forward.
“I cried and I was finally able to forgive my father and let him go.”
Next month, she’s hosting a workshop to give others peace. The programme is more about helping people release negative emotions than reconciliation.
“When we don’t forgive it holds us back,” she said.
“Once we are able to release that unforgiveness it opens up a path for so much more.
“You can release those negative emotions without having that reconciliation. The person who hurt you doesn’t need to know what your process is. You have to know so you can move forward.”
The workshop is her first.
“Since taking the coaching course I’ve been working with a lot of friends and family for free,” she said.
“I had a lot of fears that I had to work through before I put myself out there.”
A few months ago she decided she was ready. “It is so amazing when you yourself are a product of the thing you are putting forward,” she said.
“I had to transform my own thinking about myself.”
Unlike psychological counselling, life coaching doesn’t require digging deep into the client’s past.
“The client decides what breakthroughs they need to make to go forward but as a life coach I have to know when to refer a client if they do need something like psychological counselling.”
Ms Smith has known she wanted a career helping people since she was a toddler. In nursery school she wanted to be a nurse, and as she got older she considered paediatrics, child psychology and clinical psychology.
She joined Pride Bermuda 13 years ago, and is a certified addiction prevention specialist.
She does her life coaching in her spare time, and also sings and acts.
“I feel I have a gift for healing, whether that is through song, acting or coaching,” she said.
Ms Smith’s workshop, Finding Your Voice Through Forgiveness, takes place on December 13 from 6pm to 7pm at Charities House, 25 Point Finger Road. Tickets, $10, are available on ptix.bm. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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