This month we will cover the 3 steps to forgive anyone for anything in business and answer the question “Why would I want to forgive when it is so hard?

Last month we learned the 3 options to resolve the anger toward someone who has done us wrong (3 Options to Resolve Workplace Anger: You Choose). You must identify your choices, choose and act upon your decision. The 3 choices are: Live With It | Fix It | Let It Go.

If you choose to let it go, most ask the question: How do I do it?

Some view “letting it go” as equivalent to losing or showing weakness. Is it really losing? Or is our pride or ego getting in the way of our health and success?

The choice of letting go means forgiving. Authentic forgiving takes immense strength of character and it also lifts the metaphorical weight off of our shoulders.

While choosing to forgive is a great first step, what happens when we get caught in that endless loop? I forgive them….the day goes on great…. something annoying happens that reminds us of the “wrong” that happened and BAM! We are right back listening to the tape in our head –> “I can’t believe what an idiot he was for doing that. How could he think that was even close to being appropriate?”

Before we can begin the process of forgetting (aka letting it go), we must understand and embrace two concepts:
1. Forgiveness neither absolves the other person from bad behavior nor does it condone the bad behavior. We can teach others how to treat us by using our assertive conversation skills (see 3 Easy Steps to Assertive Communication).

2. Forgiveness is for us, not them. While forgiveness takes hard work, it pays off by giving you peace of mind and a joyous heart. Holding onto anger takes energy. By letting go of the anger and choosing forgiveness, you free up that energy to focus on your heart’s true desire.

Once we have embraced these concepts, we can begin the process to forgive.

Here is our method for forgiveness.

Release the Beast           |         Identify the Source        |         State the Benefits  

CTA Forgiveness in Business Process

Let’s walk through this process using the example from our last blog:

“My boss promoted Jane because she is the owner’s daughter, not because she deserved it. I was much more qualified for that promotion.”

1.) Release the Beast. Take a moment to let your inner brat come out. Allow yourself up to 5 minutes to throw a tantrum in whichever way you choose (make sure it doesn’t involve anyone else). Example, you could cry, you could scream, you could internally call them every evil naughty name in the book.

“James (my boss) is an idiot and has no clue how to manage this team. How could he not see how much more qualified I am than Jane? She just got out of college two years ago while I have my MBA and 5 years experience specifically within this team. I have been the acting manager for the past 6 months too. AAAHHHHHHHH!”

Conflict Transformation Associates Forgiveness Release the Beast

2.) Identify the Source of your anger. Anger is a surface emotion. Get to the real emotion behind it – such as embarrassment, humiliation, concern, fear, etc.

“I am angry because when I didn’t receive the promotion, I felt insecure that I wasn’t as good as I thought. I felt inadequate because I don’t have the pedigree that Jane does. I am also fearful of speaking to James about the injustice I perceive.”

Conflict Transformation Associates Forgiveness Source of Anger

3.) State the benefits of forgiving. Forgiveness does not excuse or absolve the other from the behavior.

“I am choosing to forgive because forgiveness gives me peace. It frees me up to focus my energy on achieving my goals both personally and professionally. I forgive James.”

 Conflict Transformation Associates Forgiveness State the Benefits.jpg

Eventually, you may catch yourself falling back into the state of anger and resentment. Pause. Remind yourself of why you choose to forgive. Reaffirm your choice to forgive. If you have to do this 10 times a day until you truly let go…do it 10 times. Eventually you will do it less and less until you truly “let it go” permanently.

“I am choosing to forgive because forgiveness gives me peace. It frees me up to focus my energy on achieving my goals both personally and professionally. I forgive James”

Each time you practice this, you will get better and better.

The choice of letting go means forgiving. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you absolve the other person from the responsibility of the wrong. In fact, forgiveness really isn’t about the other person at all. It is about you letting go and giving yourself the gifts of peace and joy.

Conflict Transformation Associates Forgiveness