Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Offering Forgiveness

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to offer and accept forgiveness better. That is one of those resolutions that is really hard to measure progress on – there isn’t a picture I can take of before and after or say yes, I have done this TODAY, so it’s over. It’s a process and sometimes it can be difficult to identify ways to accomplish this specific goal. In light of my current situation, I feel that I’ve offered forgiveness and empathized with others’ rather than focus on myself when it would be so easy to. I’m proud of the way I responded, and I hope that I do this every time that I have the control to forgive and make a situation better.

I was recently laid off from my primary job. Any time I share that with people, I get the obligatory “I’m sorry,” and most people ARE genuinely concerned. This always surprises me, but that is a story for another day. The circumstances surrounding that decision aren’t really fair, but nothing ever is. I feel like I’ve been forced to abandon my team and clients in a time when they need me most. My team’s hands are tied and most were quite shocked and upset for me and this situation. My management team has shown that they care for me and my situation. I could tell they were scared that I would blame them – it really wasn’t in their hands. It would have been so easy for me to allocate blame and lash out at the people who cared for me the most, the people I see daily and who I look to for leadership. It would be easy to be angry and closed off and make them feel even worse about the situation. Even though it would have been easy, it would not have been right.

These people, some of which I’ve worked with for nearly a decade, cared for me inside and outside of work. They WANT me to be on their team; they see my strengths and help with my weaknesses. They are my friends and I know that they don’t “have it out” for me. Sometimes business is just business and it, quite frankly, sucks sometimes. You can’t throw away relationships just because of one bad event – even if that event is really affecting you adversely.
I made the effort to reach out to my team and tell them, I know it isn’t your fault entirely. I forgive you for anything that happened that you think is your fault. I know you have my best interests at heart and are still my friend –regardless of the situation at hand. I did all of this while thinking of my resolution and thinking of why I wrote it.

I wrote it because sometimes situations aren’t worth burning long forged friendships even if it seems like that is the case. Maybe taking a step back for a while or realizing that these people really aren’t trying to hurt you will help (not in all cases, but in many). By just offering that one step towards forgiveness, the relationships strengthen tremendously. I’ve had people forgive me when I’ve hurt them intentionally or unintentionally when I feel like I didn’t deserve it, but I am eternally grateful that they let me have a second chance. You screw up, you’re human – admit it, move on and keep trying to be better. This is one step that I hope to keep making and I hope to have more examples to share throughout the year!