When I was twenty-seven years old, my parents divorced. It was a difficult time, I thought my parents would always be together. But change happens, it is the one constant, right? And with that change came many others. I doubted myself and my own marriage. I questioned who I was and underneath it all, I found reasons to be unforgiving. I'm not saying it was a bad thing, for in actuality - like so much in life, it was a lesson. A lesson in reality, a step away from the shining castle, and a step toward understanding truth.
And though I was not a child, as an adult I should have been more sympathetic, I was not. The hurt inside usually overpowered any rational thought or action that might have led me through the healing process. I was able to eventually let go of the pain but it was a process that required me to consistently open my mind. Ultimately, my father's untimely death sealed my belief that rational thought, rational conversation, and respect is a must.
Just before my father died, he had been sick but we did not think his illness was fatal, I thought it was a chest cold that was left untreated for too long. My mother took my dad in, she gave him a place to live and cared for him while he was recovering. Forgiveness. My mom, along with my brother and sister that lived close by, helped my father find an apartment near them all and when he seemed well enough, they helped him move in. A week after he moved, he was gone. Timely? Yes. Too soon? Also yes.
Approaching life with a chip on one's shoulder or a constant cloud of indignation does not ease the pain of heart break or loss. In fact, it actually widens the wedge that divides. Learning to forgive is not an easy task. But what I have found is that, similar to smiling your way to happiness, wanting to forgive - saying you forgive, will eventually lead to that accomplishment. Acceptance of hurt and the desire to let it go are part of the process. There is, of course, a place for forgiveness. And not only in family relations or friendships, but in business, as well.
When you are invested in what you do or the people with whom you work, there is always the chance you will be hurt. Sometimes in business, the almighty dollar does come first and a company's best and brightest do not. Following my departure from a job and organization that I dearly loved, it was tempting to stay detached in my next assignment. A nine to five, easy-going position with no investment was certainly alluring. But in the end, my need to dive in and fully commit overpowered my need to self-protect. But it couldn't be done without forgiving the past and letting it go. Rational thought won. And in the end, so did I.
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