Our lives are ripe with opportunities to take offense to the actions of others. Even more so, I believe, when you take on the mantle of leadership.
Opportunities For Offense As Leaders
Leading gives us many chances to become bitter. It’s true, especially when you begin to examine leadership and the intricacies involved with leading.
You’ll come across those who:
Want to take your position as a leader
Talk behind your back
Pass your over for promotion
Find opportunities to usurp your position
Try to turn others against you
If you’ve been a situation like these, you know there’s the whisper that’s telling you to hold onto the hurt you felt. It’s your right after all, right?
And that’s how offenses begin to take hold. That’s how offenses begin to hinder your ability to lead.
Why You Should Forgive As A Leader
Bitterness can do a number on you. Take a look around and seek out those around you who have been bitter.
You’ll notice a marked difference in their lives.
Bitter people tend to look older. Bitter people have more health issues. Bitter people have less people willing to help them. Bitter people have a higher rate of failure.
Psychologist Dr. Carsten Wrosch puts it this way:
Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health. When harbored for a long time bitterness may forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease.
When we hold onto grudges and bitterness, it causes us to be less effective. Through health issues related to bitterness to higher rates of failure, unforgiveness is toxic to our lives as leaders.
Learn To Be A Forgiving Leader
I know you don’t want to live out your days as a leader in bitterness. You know there’s a better way. I know there’s a better way to live.
The good news is that you can learn to become a forgiving leader.
Become empathetic: When you’re wronged, you’ll feel that the other person did something to slight you. That may or not be the case.
A trick to learning to forgive in this situation is to become empathetic. This means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Try to see the situation from their viewpoint. You may be surprised at what you see. If nothing else, you’ll get a perspective shift.
Realize forgiveness is a gift to yourself: The longer you hold onto resentment, the more it impacts your life. You may become sick or angry or ineffective.
Holding onto the bitterness is harming you, even more than the person you’re harboring ill feelings towards.
Look at forgiveness as a gift to yourself, not to the person you’re forgiving.
By forgiving, you’re giving yourself permission to move on. You’re allowing yourself to heal from the hurt that was brought upon you. You’re telling yourself you’re okay.
Forgiveness is a gift you give YOURSELF
Tell yourself you forgive: Unforgiveness is more of a mindset than anything. We get it stuck in our minds that we can’t forgive the wronging party because they hurt us too bad.
That’s not true. There’s always room for forgiveness.
You’ve just got to convince yourself that it’s possible.
To do so, start your day by telling yourself you forgive the people who have done wrong to you. Tell yourself that it’s okay that others have hurt you, it’s your choice to hold onto the anger. Tell yourself I’m hurting myself because I’m unwilling to let go of the pain.
Moving past the hurts you’ve experienced in leadership will open you up to new and better relationships. You won’t have the baggage hanging over your head. You can become more trusting of those you surround yourself with.
Learning to forgive others becomes a win-win situation.
Question: What has been your experience with harboring unforgiveness? Did it help or harm you to hold onto the anger? Let’s talk about this in the comment section below.
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