Vows and Forgiveness
Lead Coach and Facilitator at Choose Leadership | Working with Purpose Driven Leaders and Organisations

David Whyte’s 1996 poem, All the True Vows, from The House of Belonging, calls us forth into the world. Its first line, “All the true vows are secret vows”, poses an inquiry for leaders:

What are the secret vows you have sworn?

These vows are no idle covenants. They are solemn promises to “always” or “never again” walk down certain paths.

These silent promises often point us in one of two directions:

Away and running from, driven by a relentless energy to avoid, to ensure the sin or trauma of the past is never allowed to transpire again.

Or it is a vow to step into the light, a stride to and towards?

The former pushing away with an energy of fleeing; the latter pulling towards the sunshine of an ever approaching dawn and rising day.

In my experience as a leadership coach, the fleeing of the past often asks leaders to not just bring compassion to themselves. It often requires that they open themselves to self-forgiveness for a pain or trauma that they blame themselves for or feel they should have avoided. People often, rightly or wrongly, hold themselves culpable for the suffering they experience.

When leaders open themselves to self-forgiveness, it allows them to release the burden of fleeing from the past. And more importantly, it brings healing and creates the possibility of joyfully stepping into the future.

Forgiving oneself for the events of the past is a rarely discussed journey. It is also an essential act of leadership and transformation.

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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