The Business of Forgiveness

Downsizing. Corruption. Bullying. Harassment. “Do more with less.” Reduced benefits. Add to that list some of the people with whom you have to work every day (see Bob Sutton’s No Asshole Rule). 

There’s a lot of opportunity for anger and hurt on the job.

Where you find anger, you find the need for forgiveness. 

Why?

It’s good for you. For your physical and mental health. For your relationships. For your ability to move on peacefully and productively.

Forgivenesslogo

Why forgiveness instead of revenge?

Christina M. Puchalski, M.D. is the Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She says:

On a personal level, forgiveness of self can help us achieve an inner peace as well as peace with others and with God. Wrongdoing against others and ourselves can result in guilt and resentment.  This can then lead to self-recrimination and self-loathing; it also can create a distance or disconnect from self and others. Resentment can give away to hate and intolerance. Forgiveness is the first stage of self-love and acceptance. It is also the basic building block of loving relationships with others.”

It’s not the offense. It’s your response to it.

I confess, I’m not always a quick-to-forgive person once I’ve felt “wronged”. I give people a very long leash and a long time to “get their act together” if things aren’t going well. But there is some point at which I just say “that’s it” and cut them off from my life. It is very infrequent, but the pattern is always the same. I decide that the differences are irreconcilable. So, the relationship in its present form is finished.

Does that serve me well? 

Only if I genuinely forgive. It is both possible and imperative to do that and, at the same time, acknowledge that the nature of the relationship may not be productive. This is the harder part, I think. It begs the nagging question, “If I can forgive, why can’t I just continue?”

Sometimes it’s possible. More often, it becomes apparent that I wasn’t seeing clearly to begin with and that continuing the relationship–without changing expectations–would not be peaceful or productive for either of us.

Dr. Frederic Luskin specializes in Learning to Forgive. He explains that:

“The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health.”

Dr. Luskin’s 9 Steps to Forgiveness

1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.

2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.

3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”

4. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes–or ten years ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.

5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s fight or flight response.

6. Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize that “unenforceable rules” you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard to get them.

7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.

8. Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. 

9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.

Your workplace is a web of relationships. Being at peace with them can only make your own life a lot more satisfying, allowing you to have a positive impact on those around you.

photo attribution: www.thirdway.com 

Note: A version of this post appeared a few years ago here at ATW. After watching what can only be described as intentionally hostile, in-your-face “discussions” masquerading as “discourse” in the various media, I thought it might be useful to suggest ways of living life other than holding on to past sins, imagined sins, manufactured faux sins, and as-yet-committed sins. 


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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

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The Business of Forgiveness

This originally appeared here in July, 2008. Since the human condition hasn’t changed since then, I thought it might prompt some much-needed and quiet reflection at a time of year that epitomizes the hopefulness of reconciliation.Downsizing. Corruption. Bullying. Harassment. “Do more with less.”
Reduced benefits. Add to that list some of the people with whom you
have to work every day.There’s a lot of opportunity for anger and hurt on the job.Where you find anger, you find the need for forgiveness. Why?It’s
good for you. For your physical and mental health. For your
relationships. For your ability to move on peacefully and productively.
Why forgiveness instead of revenge?Christina
M. Puchalski, M.D. is the Founder and Director of the George Washington
Institute for Spirituality and Health and Assistant Professor of
Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She
says:”On
a personal level, forgiveness of self can help us achieve an inner
peace as well as peace with others and with God. Wrongdoing against
others and ourselves can result in guilt and resentment.  This can then
lead to self-recrimination and self-loathing; it also can create a
distance or disconnect from self and others. Resentment can give away
to hate and intolerance. Forgiveness is the first stage of self-love
and acceptance. It is also the basic building block of loving
relationships with others.”It’s not the offense. It’s your response to it.I confess, I’m not always a quick-to-forgive person once I’ve felt “wronged”. I give people a very long leash and a
long time to “get their act together” if things aren’t going well. But there is some point at which
I just say “that’s it” and cut them off from my life. It is very infrequent, but the pattern is
always the same. I decide that the differences are irreconcilable. So,
the relationship in its present form is finished.Does that serve me well? Only if I genuinely forgive. It is both possible and imperative to do that and, at the same time, acknowledge that the nature of
the relationship may not be productive. This is the harder part, I
think. It begs the nagging question, “If I can forgive, why can’t I
just continue?”Sometimes it’s possible. More often, it becomes
apparent that I wasn’t seeing clearly to begin with and that continuing
the relationship–without changing expectations–would not be peaceful
or productive for either of us.Dr. Frederic Luskin specializes in Learning to Forgive. He explains that:”The
practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression
and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and
self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships
as well as physical health.”Dr. Luskin’s 9 Steps to Forgiveness1.
Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate
what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of
people about your experience.2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.3.
Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person
that hurt you, or condoning their action. What you are after is to find
peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that
come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life
experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”4.
Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your
primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and
physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you
two minutes–or ten years ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt
feelings.5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s fight or flight response.6.
Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do
not choose to give you. Recognize that “unenforceable rules” you have
for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself
that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard
to get them.7. Put your energy into looking for another way to
get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt
you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get
what you want.8. Remember that a life well lived is your best
revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby
giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for
the love, beauty and kindness around you. 9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.If you would like to explore other resources, check out The Forgiveness Web  and Forgiveness Net. Think about this today: Your workplace is a web of relationships. Being at peace with them can only make your own life a lot more satisfying.photo attribution: www.thirdway.com 
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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

The Business of Forgiveness

This originally appeared here in July, 2008. Since the human condition hasn’t changed since then, I thought it might prompt some much-needed and quiet reflection at a time of year that epitomizes the hopefulness of reconciliation.

Downsizing. Corruption. Bullying. Harassment. “Do more with less.”

Reduced benefits. Add to that list some of the people with whom you

have to work every day.

There’s a lot of opportunity for anger and hurt on the job.

Where you find anger, you find the need for forgiveness.

Why?

It’s

good for you. For your physical and mental health. For your

relationships. For your ability to move on peacefully and productively.

Forgivenesslogo

Why forgiveness instead of revenge?

Christina

M. Puchalski, M.D. is the Founder and Director of the George Washington

Institute for Spirituality and Health and Assistant Professor of

Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She

says:

On

a personal level, forgiveness of self can help us achieve an inner

peace as well as peace with others and with God. Wrongdoing against

others and ourselves can result in guilt and resentment.  This can then

lead to self-recrimination and self-loathing; it also can create a

distance or disconnect from self and others. Resentment can give away

to hate and intolerance. Forgiveness is the first stage of self-love

and acceptance. It is also the basic building block of loving

relationships with others.”

It’s not the offense. It’s your response to it.

I confess, I’m not always a quick-to-forgive person once I’ve felt “wronged”. I give people a very long leash and a

long time to “get their act together” if things aren’t going well. But there is some point at which

I just say “that’s it” and cut them off from my life. It is very infrequent, but the pattern is

always the same. I decide that the differences are irreconcilable. So,

the relationship in its present form is finished.

Does that serve me well?

Only if I genuinely forgive. It is both possible and imperative to do that and, at the same time, acknowledge that the nature of

the relationship may not be productive. This is the harder part, I

think. It begs the nagging question, “If I can forgive, why can’t I

just continue?”

Sometimes it’s possible. More often, it becomes

apparent that I wasn’t seeing clearly to begin with and that continuing

the relationship–without changing expectations–would not be peaceful

or productive for either of us.

Dr. Frederic Luskin specializes in Learning to Forgive. He explains that:

“The

practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression

and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and

self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships

as well as physical health.”

Dr. Luskin’s 9 Steps to Forgiveness

1.

Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate

what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of

people about your experience.

2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.

3.

Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person

that hurt you, or condoning their action. What you are after is to find

peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that

come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life

experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”

4.

Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your

primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and

physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you

two minutes–or ten years ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt

feelings.

5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s fight or flight response.

6.

Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do

not choose to give you. Recognize that “unenforceable rules” you have

for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself

that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard

to get them.

7. Put your energy into looking for another way to

get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt

you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get

what you want.

8. Remember that a life well lived is your best

revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby

giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for

the love, beauty and kindness around you.

9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.

If you would like to explore other resources, check out The Forgiveness Web  and Forgiveness Net.

Think about this today: Your workplace is a web of relationships. Being at peace with them can only make your own life a lot more satisfying.

photo attribution: www.thirdway.com 


Link to original post

Avatar

Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

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