I have a family member who has issues with me (Go figure!). We got along well our entire lives but many years ago, “C’s” attitude towards me changed dramatically and with no explanation.

All communication between us ceased (“C’s” choice, not mine) and family get-togethers became extremely uncomfortable. I discovered that C had deep rooted anger and resentment towards me for reasons that were completely without merit.

C also began speaking unfavorably about me to family members and gradually damaged my relationship with some of them. I was no longer invited to some family gatherings. C also began attacking my professional integrity in what felt like an attempt to discredit me and destroy my career.

(“You poor thing!” I hear some of you saying. “What a horrible person!” Stop right there. This is not a “poor me” newsletter and is in no way intended to make C look bad. I’m making a point.)

This situation deeply distressed me but I’m a very compassionate person. I was aware that C had some underlying issues unrelated to me. At one point, while expressing anger towards me, she also revealed how unappreciated she felt for the extraordinary efforts she had continually made for our family. That was undenialble. C had gone above and beyond for certain family members. At that moment, I felt sad. Everyone deserves to be acknowledged for whatever good they do regardless of any personal issues between the parties.

It took about 2 weeks before I was able to put my ego aside and write a long overdue and much deserved letter of appreciation for all of C’s generosity and sacrifice for our family. This was, after all, a complete and separate issue from our personal relationship problems.

An effort such as this is nearly impossible to accomplish when one is stuck in “ego” because ego is all about the self. Once you “let go of your ego” and return to spirit (after all, we are spiritual beings), the focus shifts to the other’s wellbeing and becomes effortless.

(“Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you…”)

Which one of us does not have our own unique set of personal issues that cause us to treat others unkindly? I’m not exempt from this. But does this mean that whatever good we do should go unacknowledged because of the mistakes we make? I want to be acknowledged for the good I do in spite of the times I fall short of perfection. Appreciation motivates me to do more.

Nothing has changed between C and me. That was not my motive for writing the letter.

I changed. Every time I live in spirit, it changes who I am. And that’s all that really matters.

A few weeks ago, my dad passed away. As always, C did everything possible to help our family during this time of transition. Now, without a moment’s hesitation, pen met paper as I easily and joyfully expressed my deep gratitude for C’s unselfish and tireless gestures. Effortless, when one lives in spirit.

Let go of your ego. Choose spirit as a way of life.

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known motivational and inspirational speaker, Janet is a graduate of Englewood Cliffs College (now St. Peter’s) and is a leader in the field of anger management and conflict resolution.

She serves as a consultant to such companies at the U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, Hoffman-La Roche, Carnival Cruise Lines, AT&T, United Way, YWCA, and more.

Janet is a registered trainer for the N.J. Education Association, training teachers and students throughout the state.

As a survivor of domestic violence, she also works as an instructor at a battered women’s shelter.

Janet hosts her own TV show, Discovering Your Personal Power and is a frequent quest on television and radio. She recently appeared on Fox TV, Steve Adubato’s One-On-One, was highlighted by NBC News and appeared on many others. She has also co-hosted her own talk radio show as well.

An award-winning author and freelance writer, Janet writes a column for the Daily Record as well as articles for such magazines as Woman’s World, N.J. Family, Prime Woman and Living Solo.

She has co-authored a book with Mark Victor Hanson (of Chicken Soup For the Soul) entitled “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. 3”, wrote “The Secret Side of Anger” (currently available on CD), and has four published children’s books. Janet is listed in “Who’s Who in Authors”.

Additionally, Janet has spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, is a member of the National Police Suicide Foundation and a board member for the World Addiction Foundation. She has been a committee member and keynote speaker for the YWCA’s National Week Without Violence Campaign.

In 2001, Janet founded the nation’s first support group of its kind for families struggling with issues of estrangement. The group, Reunion of Hearts: Reconciling and Reconnecting Estranged Families, was dedicated to the emotional and spiritual healing of family members and very successfully reunited more than 90% of the families.

Janet is also a member of NJAWBO and A Vision In Motion Speaker’s Bureau.

She has been nominated for many prestigious awards including the Russ Berrie “Make a Difference Award”, and has received many others.

Added to her credentials are numerous awards for her nature photography. And in 1994 – 95, Janet was one of the nation’s top female marathon race walkers, winning gold medals at the state level and gold, silver and bronze medals for national marathon competitions. No one has yet broken her record of power walking every single day for more than 26 years.

In her spare time, Janet rescues abandoned and abused dogs (she currently has 3 beautiful mutts), hikes, and spends time with her family.