Philanthropist, Tara Muldoon knows what it's like to hurt, experience emotional and physical pain, and the damage that it can do to us. Yet, she chose to look past her overall hurt, and forgave those who hurt her, because she knows that causes her more pain in the long run. This project uses "dialogue to project what forgiveness looks like." The themes used are heartbreak, bullying, addiction, sex education and more. The group is described as on Tara's site as "a group of young people who see the concept of forgiveness as a tangible and attainable way of seeing results, with the ultimate goal of seeing violence rates lowered. To date, we have held 19 events attracting more than 2,200 attendees, the majority of whom have been youth. Based on data we collect at every event, we have a return rate of 82%." The project has received dozens of accolades, not only in Toronto, but worldwide, as Billboard Magazine previously nominated her for the Women In Music Award.
Tara is definitely a girl on a mission, and in July 2013, the book for "F-You: The Forgiveness Project," released and we got the chance to chat with this lovely lady who has a passion for people, forgiveness, and good works. Find out more about Tara, her project, what she hopes men and women gain from The Forgiveness Project, and much more.
You're experienced and seasoned in philanthropic and public relations work. What encouraged and/or influenced you to pursue these ambitions?
Tara: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today! It means a lot to get the message out there.
I didn’t particularly set out to do public relations but moving to Toronto at 18, I tried to meet as many people as possible which resulted in a PR career. I was able to work for trailblazers in the entertainment industry including Neil Forester at the Substance Group and learned a lot about work ethic, which was key to starting my own PR firm.
As for philanthropy, I was raised to believe your purpose in the world is to make life easier for others so that was embedded in me as a child. Community work is really where my heart is and where I’ve met the most interesting people!
I love the concept of F-You: The Forgiveness Project. What led you to create and empower this much-needed project?
Tara: Thank you so much. I actually attended a project at the University of Toronto on images of forgiveness a few years back and it was a message I needed to hear at that point of my life. I knew that if I needed it, then others would – and F-You began!
I was sexually assaulted when I moved to Toronto and it changed who I was. I was angry and resentful. It wasn’t until I started to think about forgiveness and the idea of “hurt people hurt people” that I was able to learn from the assault and ultimately forgive.
Do you think women have a much more difficult time forgiving others who have harmed them? If so, why do you think that is?
I’m not convinced one sex has a more difficult time forgiving. I’ve seen completely different reactions from all people, regardless of gender/sex/background. Actually, the only thing I know that is true about forgiveness is that it’s a very intricate process for each person.
That said – us women can be pressured to forgive which has the danger of re-victimizing us and making us feel like we aren’t good people/feeling guilty. For that reason alone, I feel the conversation on forgiveness is so important.
What do you hope women (and men) alike take away from F-You: The Forgiveness Project?
Tara: I hope that everyone thinks about the question “what would it look like if I forgive today?” – I don’t believe in pressure or forcing anyone to forgive, but I do think that question can change lives.
I also hope people reflect on self-forgiveness. I feel far too many people carry guilt and shame their entire lives, both can have such negative repercussions.
Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?
What are your five favorite books, and if you only had one choice, which one would you not want to live without?
F-You: The Forgiveness Project presents Memoirs on Violence and Compassion
The Trauma of Everyday Life – Mark Epstein
The Psychology of Love
7 Habits of the Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
Thanks for the interview, Tara!
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