Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pursuing forgiveness

Several months later after a panic attack over another person's behavior that just enraged me, I read a passage in a book that spoke urgently to me.  It said basically that the best revenge is forgiveness and the best insult is indifference.  Applying the methodology known as "fake it til you make it", I have been putting the indifference part into good practice both externally and internally emotionally.  I am having a much harder time with the forgiveness part.

I have seen how powerful forgiveness can be in the example of the Charleston church members.  I don't believe the battle flag of the Confederacy would have been removed from the S.C. capital without their swift and direct forgiveness of the murderer.  It took the spotlight off the murderer and right on the nature of the crime - hate - symbolized by that very flag.  The response was historic.

I heard the message of forgiveness again when I went to see Disney's 2015 Cinderella movie along with its adage of "have courage and be kind."  Being kind enough to forgive often takes courage because forgiveness takes inner strength and a belief in one's own humanity and ability to make mistakes.  Mistakes that can alter one's entire path through life.

Pope Francis has declared a year of mercy that runs through Nov. 20, 2016.  Mercy sometimes requires forgiveness so I will take it as another sign I am on the right track.  For me, of course, the hardest person to forgive is myself.  Because in learning to experience forgiveness emotionally not just externally I have to separate failure to accomplish something from thinking of myself as a failure as a human being.  People with entrepreneurial spirit can do it, why can't I?

After all, having experienced various systems management group efforts where the emphasis was on finding the root cause of the problem not on personnel fault finding, I should have incorporated that lesson into my own emotional responses, but I haven't reached that state yet. 

I try to inspire groups to do that by providing examples.  I analyze situations I am experiencing or  others are reporting to me and look for ways to reduce or remove a problem but I can not reduce or remove an emotional reaction in myself or others.  I experience that lack of control as my failure whether it is or isn't.  

I need to say to myself I failed and then forgive myself and ask forgiveness of others if I have lashed out towards someone else.  So how do I get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.  I have plenty of mistakes in my past just ripe for practicing on.  Wish me luck, add me to your prayers, or not.  Regardless, thanks for listening.