Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Self-esteem Series (10 of 13) “The Practice of Forgiveness”

Practicing the Principle of Forgiveness is not easy.  We are raised with the belief that life should be fair, everyone should be afforded the same chance, everything should be balanced, tit-for-tat, and an eye for an eye.  But in reality, life isn’t always fair and if we lived by this principle it would be a world of the blind.

The Practice of Forgiveness

1)  Place the Responsibility where it Belongs:describe the offense and what happened. Be specific about the part the offender played and the part you played.  Take responsibility for your part only.  Do not take responsibility for theirs.  Write down the feelings, emotions, you experience when you recall the offence. Describe the pain you feel.

2) Own Your Wound – Your Pain:Regardless of whether it is right or wrong – good or bad – pain is real.  Own the pain this offense provokes and separate it from other offenses.  “This is my wound.  This is my pain – no one else’s.

3)  Place the Blame where it Belongs:Make the victimizer responsible for his or her actions. Recognize what they did and separate their actions from yours.  This is the offense that the injurer committed.  Don’t take responsibility for something which is not yours.  Don’t make excuses for the victimizer.  List the angry thoughts you have toward this person.  List the things you have done or are doing in the name of hate (avoiding them, gossiping, fantasizing on how to hurt them, keying their car, obsessing on their evil deed, etc.)

4)  Become Proactive:Do whatever footwork is necessary to undo the injury (call the police, set a boundary, repair what is broken, etc.).  Take appropriate steps to further protect yourself from this ever happening again. This is empowering.  It allows you to reclaim your lost power.

5)  Make a Choice to Become Willing to Forgive:By dropping any claims you have against this person, you let go of the past so you can go on with the present.  Don’t waste one more moment of your precious life being dominated by ugliness from the past.

Now ask yourself:

  • “Am I getting pleasure from my resentment and hate?”
  • “Am I keeping this person an enemy so I can blame someone else for my misery?”
  • “Am I afraid to let go of this pain?”
  • “How is holding onto this pain, and resenting, and hating them hurting me?”
  • “How will forgiving them help me?”
  • “What would my life be like if I didn’t have this pain to beat myself with?”

Now, make this person human again by writing three good things about them.  It’s easier to forgive a human than a monster.

Finally, become willing to relinquish your right to get even.  “I no longer hold any malice toward you.  I’m going on with my life and I’m not wasting another precious second being haunted by the pain you caused me.”

6)  Rebirth:By forgiving, you stop being a helpless victim and begin to gain a sense of power over your life.  Life happens, but you can learn to deal with whatever it throws at you.  Whether scared, wounded, or maimed, a person who forgives still finds:

  • Inner peace and serenity.
  • Humility:  having respect for the inner dignity of every other person.
  • Empathy:  being willing to see the world through the eyes of others – even those very different

Once we forgive others; then we need to forgive the hardest person of all to forgive – ourselves.  I still have to accept responsibility for my actions, for the consequences I have incurred.  And I don’t want to forget.  I want to learn from the pain – not live in it.  When I forgive myself, I refuse to beat myself up any longer.  I refuse to carry that shame anymore.

By practicing the principle of forgiveness, we begin developing a sense of humility.  We begin connecting to others and start to understand that they are not perfect either.  We come to understand that they too are frightened, unsure of themselves, defensive – that they are just like us and we are just like them.  We come to realize that everyone is just trying to get through life the best they can.  Some may appear better equipped – better able to cope with the complexities of life – but no one has all the answers.

The principle of humility states that all human beings are equal – no one is better or worse than another.  It means having respect for the inner dignity of every other person – to speak to that part of them that is their beauty and goodness instead of their ugliness and badness.  To look for that part of God in everyone; this is the essence of humility.

The pursuit of humility keeps us grounded in reality and instills in us a sense of compassion both for ourselves and others.  It’s the pursuit of humility which keeps us from becoming self-righteous.

If you noticed, I mentioned thepursuitof humility.  For it is in thepursuitin which one becomes humble.  No one really knows when they are humble; because it is the nature of man that at the moment he believes himself to be humble – pride steps in and he loses it.

Three powerful tools for “The Practice of Forgiveness and the Pursuit of Humility” are: Street Cleaning,Forgiveness, andPraying for Your Enemies.

NOTE:Manager Development Services’ Blog is intended to educate and give “food for thought” that will enhance a person’s personal and professional lives.  You can find our Self-esteem Series in either our text or our e-learning course titled, “Becoming Master of Your Destiny.”


August 2, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I am faced with several situations recently where I have had ill feelings toward others, and this reading helped me to begin to forgive and work on my self esteem at the same time.

    Comment by Mc Gara Bautista | December 3, 2010 | Reply

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