Are you Forgiving?

It has been said that “to err is human, but to forgive is divine.”

I have to admit…I’m pretty good at the “err” part, but the “forgive’ part? Well let’s just say that I’m not always real divine!!! In any meaningful relationship there is going to be constant interaction and interdependence. There will be many times when you or your counterpart will make a decision that doesn’t work out the way it was hoped to. There will be things that are said in a variety of circumstances that have an unintended impact. Sometimes these things are done on purpose, but mostly they are done simply in error. No human being is perfect. Yet most of us, if we are completely honest, expect others to be perfect according to our view of the world.

No human being is perfect.

We judge other based on their behaviors and actions, not their intent. Yet, we judge ourselves based on our intent, rather than our behaviors and actions! Oh, what a tangled web this can weave. I have learned the hard way that being unforgiving has a very negative impact on the person who is not forgiving. It causes you to hold onto things that can create resentment. It biases the way you see every future action with the person you are not forgiving. In essence, lack of forgiveness becomes a major gap in the trust in the relationship. Think about this….when we don’t forgive someone, we are holding onto these feelings and they can be very present in our though-life. The other person, the one we aren’t forgiving, is going about their life without a second thought as to our issue! We are creating an ongoing negative energy all by ourselves. It’s completely pointless. We can forgive without forgetting. You might think this is counter-productive…I call it education through experience. If someone treats us harshly, we can remember that they act this way in a situation which will help us the next time we interact in a similar situation, but we don’t have to harbor the bad feelings in between these interactions.

We judge other based on their behaviors and actions, not their intent. Yet, we judge ourselves based on our intent, rather than our behaviors and actions!

Trust must be at the foundation of the relationship, so we must work at being forgiving. We need to actually turn around the prior words I expressed and think the opposite. We must look at the other person’s intent and look at our own behaviors! Since I am a freak about personal development, I have gotten a lot better in this area, because I recognize my weakness here. Now, the first thing I try to do is take a step back and think about what happened and why it might have happened. If it had a deleterious effect on me (whatever the event was), rather than rushing in with a blaming and accusing stance, I calmly ask questions. Instead of saying “You did…” I say something like “Here is something I saw or interpreted and here is how it affected me…” and then I ask if my interpretation was true or if they can help me to understand what took place. In other words I try to take a caring and solution-oriented approach. It doesn’t always work, because I don’t always do it…but it works a whole lot better than what I used to do!