When the Who’s That Lady Extraordinaire asked me to write a blog about forgiveness, I was ready to go! As a Professional Development Strategist and Coach, I’ve experienced and heard stories of slaps to the face, inappropriate touches, purposely slammed doors, and mocking dares to come up the steps.
Let me make it real for you. Have you ever had a leader at work call you by someone else’s name and was convinced you were that “someone else” just because the two of you were the same color? Ever had someone at work tell you they have friends that looked like you, but always wanted to know how you could tell you were really clean since you’re always a darker color? Ever had someone at work tell you that you didn’t get a position because, you simply weren’t “like” everyone else?
I hear these stories every day. I’ve even experienced them myself. And as much as we all want to believe “words shouldn’t bother you”, they sure do burn. Sometimes they leave painful scars. That brings us to the word of the day, forgiveness. Believe it or not, what’s important to me and those I coach is first, the need to forgive that person, then move forward. Don’t let the situation or the person who hurt you control your feelings and your professional growth. Yeah. Yeah. You knew I’d say that right? Now to the real meat of the topic. What is forgiveness and how in the world are we supposed to forgive people in this type of situation? I’m glad you asked.
Forgiveness is so much easier to exhibit once you understand what it means. (Forgetting is a whole other blog, so let’s stick with the term forgive.) The definition of forgive is to stop feeling anger toward; to stop blaming; to stop feeling anger about; to stop requiring payment. The definition goes on to describe forgive as, to give up resentment; to grant relief of payment.
I forgive everyone involved in any professional experience that I deem negative or inappropriate, and I ask my clients to do the same regarding their experiences. This is how you win. This is how you become free. This is how you grow and prosper.
Get your power back by forgiving. No, exhibit the power that was always yours anyway. Take positive and healthy control. Don’t allow what was done to you make you forever angry, blameful, emotionally unhealthy and physically unhealthy. (Notice I said “forever” because you are human and you are wired to “feel.”) Don’t WAIT for your offenders to pay you back. Free yourself from the anticipation of retribution. It’s not likely you will fail to remember, but you can disregard the negative part of that experience as unimportant and recognize the event as a contribution to your professional growth. You have learned and gained far more from that experience, than you would have if you had not experienced it at all. To that end, when you forgive, your test then becomes an official and (within this context) a professional testimony. A testimony that many are needing to hear.
As for me, I will remember the experience as a catapult to a new and fruitful professional region. Yes. Yes. I use the f-word freely as a tool for growth. I use the f-word especially in a professional environment and you should too.