WORLD’S of conflict emerge wherever people co-relate. So called “professionals” deal in conflict, revelling in it, however absurd. Organisationally, it’s a dreaded but certain blight that, as part of the human condition, everyone must accept as fact, and even plan for, and around. There is something very obvious missing in every organisation’s approach to people management. This thing is forgiveness.
Without “super-spiritualising” anyone, I can demonstrate this is so pertinent to everyone, it just sits up and begs our collective attention. As basic human beings we’re living, breathing, thinking, feeling, walking, talking basket cases—and our potential is limited severely by this. Ask just about any manager at a workplace whether they oftentimes feel like the headmaster of a kindergarten and they’ll laugh with you at the irony; the sort of laughter that indicates you’re close to the mark.
Truth accepted, we’re five milliseconds away from behaving like little children—the ‘blue-eyed, brown-eyed’ experiment revealed this saliently in the 1960s. Now if we accept this truth we can finally put strategies in place to deal with upset people—we can in a manner, “heal” them, making them happier, freer and more productive as a result.
This sounds simple though it’s an often much vaunted and complicated process.
Strategies depend on forgiveness; teaching the theory, having the theory accepted, and then teaching the skills of communication, compassion and empathy relating to actual forgiveness, including self-forgiveness—for how can we forgive others if we don’t readily forgive ourselves.
But most of all, strategies depend fundamentally on getting people one-on-one and encouraging the exhibition of courage and trust of honest communications in dredging up long-cherished hurts and resentments, in a productive manner, toward mutual cognisance, acknowledgement, restitution and eventually, healing. (Long sentence, maybe... long process too; but entirely worthwhile for anyone engaging in it.)
This is no spiritual, warm ‘n’ fuzzy. It’s the reality of work and the nature of all people when it comes to the inevitable conflicts we all have, every day.
Forgiveness—when it’s adopted as an attitudinal skill—needs to be an ‘in the moment’ thing; it’s caring and responsible for the relationship—all relationships! And most of all it’s beyond organisational level, cutting through—dividing—through life itself, it’s central to our task of effective and free living.
In the final analysis, we need to get people onto an agenda of leaving past things in the past—those things that would hem them in, anchoring them, haranguing them—those things that severely limit their own and others’ potential and mental, emotional and spiritual freedom.
If we want more harmony, trust and respect and less conflict, envy, gossip and innuendo (and less stress, anxiety and tears!), we must attend systematically to this issue of healing hearts wounded.
The science of practical forgiveness; my goal is to tease out the convoluted threads.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.