I read some recent statistics that around 77% of employees experience physical effects of stress and 63% of employees are ready to quit their jobs due to stress. But this episode is not about those external factors that affect us all—that wear at our emotional fortitude. No, this is about the people in your workplace that have harmed you.
Take a pause right now and consider those who’ve negatively affected you at work (directly or indirectly). Yes, channel the resentment, just hold it for a moment.
Let’s explore releasing the grudges, the resentment, or even the spite. Today, let’s talk forgiveness.
BUT these people were TERRIBLE, their behaviors were [ awful / hurtful / selfish / condescending / meanspirited / stupid / fill-in-your-own-blank ] Yes. But we're not talking about their behavior. We’re talking about your inner peace.
Because as you dredge up these memories, as you consider all the wrongs, the bitterness and resentment…as you channel those feelings, here’s a thought to consider.
These people are NOT thinking about you. Do you think that they’re feeling guilty or responsible for your angst? That they wake up in the morning committed to “doing better?” To work hard to earn your forgiveness? It’s actually quite ironic, isn’t it? The extremely high probability that they’re not thinking of you at all.
I was exposed to a book many years ago that profoundly impacted the way I think about forgiveness. I’ve given the book as a gift both literally and figuratively. Because forgiveness is a gift, we give ourselves.
Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good. He helped me reframe what forgiveness was and also what it wasn’t. This was profound.
Forgiveness is not:
Forgiveness is about the present moment. It means making a choice today, about a situation in the past. It’s about feeling better today, and being clear about the situation, then choosing to overcome the negative emotions. This is about how you want to feel about yourself and your life.
Maybe you’re willing to explore what it would feel like not to feel the way you do about your past or current situation. Maybe you are willing to open the door to peace. But how?
Start with clarity. Identify the feelings, identify the behaviors/actions that “harmed” you. And talk about them. Discover the emotions, clarify the why. Consider how you’re telling the story. Consider why you’re choosing to tell the story in that way.
And let it go. Because do you want to be the victim in your story? Or do you want to be the hero overcoming the challenges that were tossed your way? Do you want to be the one that was able to rise above the dysfunction and be stronger for it?
If you want to release the resentment:
My mantra: “Forgive everyone everything.” Because I give myself the gift of inner peace. You can too.