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Love, Forgiveness & Gratitude: Lessons From An Uninvited Guest

08/15/2012 01:25 pm ET | Updated Oct 15, 2012

Iyanla Vanzant said in an Oprah Lifeclass that you are never angry or upset for the reason you think you are. This lesson hit hard this week when I wasn't invited to a gathering of friends, and my ex was. At first, I was pissed. I thought about all the times I included them and threw myself a little pity party. Then I remembered what Gabby Bernstein says, "Check yourself before you wreck yourself."

As my marriage failed and the divorce process started, I withdrew from my friends. I didn't want anyone to get involved in my drama; I didn't want to talk about my ex or what was really going on. More importantly, I didn't want them to judge me for moving on with someone else -- a friend they also knew. I felt certain that people would think of the worst of me, that I would be forever wearing a modern Scarlet Letter.

So, when this event happened, and I was excluded, I was mad. All my fears realized. But here in lies the rub; I wasn't mad at them. I was mad at me. The circumstances of my life embarrassed me. In my embarrassment, I withdrew and perceived that others judged me. Whatever we think, it is true. In this regard, we create our own reality. If we think we are being excluded or judged, we are. It's that simple.

When this happens, the first thing you need to do is forgive yourself -- plain and simple. Let go of past mistakes, guilt and feeling like because you screwed up once, you aren't a good person and that you don't deserve love and respect. When you forgive yourself, you pay homage to that which is human in you -- the capacity to never stop learning and growing. When you forgive, you let go.

The second act is embracing feeling the way you want to feel instead of dwelling in negativity. We must embrace love in all of our actions. So if we want to feel included, we must focus on thoughts of inclusion and including others. We must smile more, invite more and be more open to conversation.

The third step, gratitude, really helps to turn the truck of self-pity around. Here we acknowledge the good and light already in our lives. For example, the two friends that reached out to me after this event really brightened my day and helped me to just let it go. I am grateful for their kind words and friendship. When focusing on what you do have instead of what you don't, you never lack; you will always walk in abundance.

While walking in love, forgiveness, and gratitude proves difficult at times, the idea that love can prevail over fear heartens me. If we can change the focus of our thinking from fear to love, we can change our life and our relationships. I look forward to this next part of my journey.

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