Many years ago, I could not forgive, I would hang onto situations emotionally where I felt that I was treated unfairly. The situation would play through my mind a million times, always the victim, never once thinking of the other person and what caused them to act in that way. Sometimes I would hear myself bemoaning the individual who had wronged me and hating myself as the words left my lips. I would then hold that grudge, eating away at me emotionally, but not being prepared to let go.
Taking part in the seven bridges walk in Sydney many years ago, I was walking with a friend Annet who teaches yoga and meditation. I quizzed her about meditation and how to get started, she said its simple, find somewhere quiet sit on a cushion on the floor, to begin use a wall to prop yourself up, set the timer to 5 mins on your iphone and close your eyes. We chatted for hours about the how and benefits.
Inspired the very next day I got out of bed at 6am, found a spot on the balcony with the cushion, set the timer and I was away. My monkey mind went crazy with all the things I had to do in the day ahead, but it was ok Annet said it would be like that for a while. Every day I practised and then one day after 6 months of persistence I found the space she had talked about. Calmness that I had not felt before, but then experienced often after that day. I went to 10 mins a day so I could enjoy that feeling of emptiness and quietness. Today I can meditate for 30-40 mins. Some days are better than others with my thoughts, but what was truly amazing is the time to reflect is the most valuable teacher. So often now in meditation I can see where I am going wrong, whereas before the emotions, inner critic and monkey mind left me with no ability to reflect.
At work in stressful situations I can find that calmness quickly, allowing to expend little emotional energy. Through meditation I was able to let go of the personal pain and really seek to understand the other person. The process of letting go takes practice, Forgiveness is easy when there is no emotional attachment to a situation.
Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on me, so I need to take action. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable.
How quickly can you forgive?