Wow! We’re halfway through the first week! This is day 4 of Live Better In 14 Days With Pen And Paper – Today we’re going to focus on letting some baggage go by forgiving some people in our lives.
Make a list of three or so people who’ve done you wrong, irritate you beyond words, or who you think are just not benefitting the planet much by being here. Start with those closest to you. Resist jumping straight to politicians, go there only if you must. Frankly, if politicians are the only folks on your list, you may as well skip the exercise!
For each person, write down what they did to earn their place on the list – keep it short and to the point.
Then write down the most likely explanation a reasonable person would have for their behavior. Try to see it from their perspective. This can be hard, but if you’re honest with yourself you’ll see it. Now write that you can forgive them. Feel free to add “just this once!” if it makes you feel better.
I found that this was a bit harder to do for people who’d really done me actual harm – not just an annoyance. The reality is that in the cases where I was treated badly from my perspective, I’m forced to see that it was a major difference of perspective. What was important to me simply wasn’t important to them.
I don’t mean to get religious, but the phrase “They know not what they do” keeps coming to mind. You might argue that on some level they do know what they do – they consciously made the decision to act the way they did – but they don’t know the effect they’ve had on you or others.
A good reminder that we cannot control what others do, we can only control what we do in response, including how we feel.