Heart to Heart: August | The hardest conversation I've ever had

This summer has been amazing for so many reasons. I dove in with a new life coach for the first time since becoming a coach myself, I deepened my relationship with my husband, acknowledged a lot of stuff I was denying in my own life, went on vacation with my closest friends, quit my serving job to devote more time and energy to coaching, and had one hell of an aha moment. Honestly, it’s been a muddled mess of goodness; a lot of self reflection, growth, stepping out of fear, and choosing to love.

All the deep work has dampened my creativity, but as the summer is ending, I am feeling distanced enough from the story to finally share a tidbit of what’s been going on.  

A series of events this summer uprooted a deep un-forgiveness I’ve been sitting with since childhood. What began as a tiff with my husband turned into a series of odd dreams, talks with my life coach, and led to the talk I’ve been waiting for my whole life.


I’m tearing up out of pride and healing as I write this, because I never thought a day would come where I felt so free and powerful.

Many of you have read or heard me talk about growing up in a dysfunctional family.  I have experienced 5 divorces in childhood, an alcoholic parent, abuse in various forms, and have worked to be healthy and resilient in the face of whatever adversity I faced in my youth.

But even after 2 years of counseling, I realized this summer how I was still being a victim to my story. I had healed, owned, and named the ugly parts of my past, but I had not stepped out of the story and decided to create my own ending. I had never fully forgiven my abusers, never fully released my parents, never fully felt like me.

And I do this for a freaking living!!

I decided to have the conversation.

The conversation I’d been avoiding/longing for my entire life. I faced my biggest fear: owning my truth to the person whose love I craved most as a child, who “wounded” me and in my opinion, caused me so many years of therapy. I chose to own my side, get honest, and forgive both of us for the roles we played in the ongoing pain.  

Owning my story took me a step beyond my expectations of healing.

Here are a few of my aha moments in reflection:

-Coming alive is done in layers and in seasons. It takes time, and is a lifelong thing.

-Perfection doesn’t exist.

-Forgiveness is a journey, but when you walk it, freedom really does come.

-Forgiving yourself is a must, even if you were the one abused/hurt/wronged.

-Wait to share your story until you are ready.

-Courageous conversations are freaking hard, but being honest will save you.

If you’re in a season of uprooting, healing, and forgiving, I just want to encourage you to give yourself time. This process can’t be rushed, but do take the steps you need to. When the time comes for a conversation, do it. When the time comes to burn all your childhood journals (like I did), do it. When the time comes for forgiveness, do it.


Here are a few resources on the topic of healing and forgiveness I’ve been chewing on this summer. I hope they are helpful in your journey alive.

  • Framework for Courageous Conversations by Elizabeth Dialto. Her work on getting real with yourself has vastly shaped what coming alive means to me this summer.
  • This 5 part podcast on forgiveness offers a great path to follow in your own healing.
  • The Tony Robbins Documentary, which I've now seen three times, has given me tools and new perspectives in healing.
  • Lewis Howes had a courageous conversation on his podcast about his childhood rape which helped me see areas of my own story I needed to let go of.

New around here:

  • My latest blog post was about why being an optimist is not what carried me through hard seasons. Read it on The Bravery Board Blog.
  • If you didn't know, I'm all about owning the fact that I'm a hot mess. I use it to my advantage. Read how I use it and channel it into creativity in my feature on The Yellow Conference.
  • Wish you were in Springfield to come to my events with The Bravery Board!? Fear not! We've officially launched our podcast.

Tribe mail got an upgrade!

If you're a part of the Tribe, you already know that I'm sending monthly worksheets to make like a little easier for you! This month's download is on gratitude. Join the tribe and get your worksheet in the next email!

The secret to finding peace in an angry world


Passion drives my business and life.  There was a season, however, that my passion for helping others was tainted. My passion showed up as anger, and inspiration was driven by resentment. I’m talking about the kind of passion for world change rooted in pain, hurt, and anger at people in my past.

Where is the root of your passion? We talk about it a lot, but where does it come from and how should we channel it into something that is fruitful and healthy?

Passion has a dark side.

The biggest ah-ha for me was realizing that passion has a dark side- anger and bitterness. For a long time, my passion for helping women was rooted in anger at men. Justly, I wanted to help women overcome and live their best, because men in my life held women down. Past abuse and pain I had not dealt with birthed a passion in me to help women triumph over their past and really thrive.

"An angry generation can't bring peace." -Marianne Williamson

Boy, have I spent time hating on men, hating on what’s wrong with the systems, and how people hurt me. Anger propelled me into mental wellness as a career, but it didn’t sustain me. Frustration would show up in my writing, bitterness in my conversations. I decided that I wanted to spread light and love, not anger and pain.  Even though angry people can (and do) make a difference, they can never bring peace. Anger always produces more anger. Love always produces more love.

The secret: forgiveness

If you want to create a more loving, empowered world, you first must empower yourself… through forgiveness. Forgiveness is not cookie cutter, and it is not a one time thing. So often, we want to hurry over the process because it is uncomfortable to feel pain or sadness.

You must learn to feel the pain of what is not forgiven.

Map it out if you need to. A skill I have recently developed from leadership coach, Chris Lee, is writing down all the ways I am hurting and the people I believe it is connected to. I acknowledge the pain and the hurt, but I don’t stay there forever. The same process can be done when you need to forgive yourself as well! 

Sometimes, the weight of certain pains are too much to carry alone, and we do need to seek the help of a professional. When I realized some of my unforgiveness was rooted much deeper than I could handle alone, I spent one year regularly seeing a counselor trained in EMDR and an emotional freedom technique. I learned a lot of tools and ways to continue to forgive that I still use today.

What makes you fiery and passionate?

Is your drive to change the world because of past pain? Most passion does come from an injustice and the desire to fix it. Keep that passion, but make it pure through forgiveness.

If you are struggling with forgiveness and are beating yourself up about it, start by forgiving yourself. Forgiveness is a daily journey that frees YOU to live a more abundant life. Free yourself from anger and watch your passions blossom.

Your turn. 

Share your story in the comments. I can't wait to hear how you are making the journey from anger to passion.

PS. If this hit home for you, share with your friends on Facebook. I would love to connect with more women who are wanting to live a bigger, more abundant life, and you never know who is ready to heal, forgive, and come alive. 

Much love, -Madison.