Hello, my friends.
Today’s subject is “turn the other cheek” – the seemingly lost art of forgiveness.
Have you ever misspoken? Have you ever forgotten someone’s name? Have you ever changed lanes on the highway, not realizing there was someone in your blind spot?
Of course, you have.
Think about the moments where you’ve made those mistakes and offended someone. What is your normal reaction? It is likely apology: “My bad, I’m sorry.”
You apologize, and you move on. You forgive yourself.
But when someone offends you, how quickly do you let it go? How quickly do you forgive and forget?
Now I normally don’t make the blog and video preachy – that’s certainly not my intent – but I have seen patterns in political discourse and even in some business conversations, where we seem to be driving towards opposite poles, powered by exaggeration and hyperbole.
There are exaggerated statements, extreme points of view, and concentration on the other person and how they’ve made mistakes, how they are wrong, and how you need to retaliate or get even.
When you are not invested emotionally in these debates, differences of opinion, or arguments, it is quite easy to see the destructive nature of these situations to all parties.
I am not suggesting that you turn off your emotions and go through life as a robot with no feelings. That is not the solution. The solution is to simply recognize the greater person that is within you and bring out that greater person.
Contrary to some peoples’ belief, forgiving someone – turning the other cheek – is not a sign of submission or weakness; it is a sign of strength. It is not that you are better than the other person; it is that you are better than the small you. The big you is forgiving. The big you is understanding. The big you is considerate. The small you is petty, spiteful, and retaliatory.
Which one of you do you want to show up?
In today’s political discourse, exaggerated statements have replaced nuance, subtlety, and understanding of the other perspective. You can have your opinions, of course, as I have my mine. But listen carefully to the opinions of others, especially if you don’t adopt their point of view. It is simply a sign of respect to try to understand and give others the audience to share their view.
I have done this time and time again, and have had people be very grateful. They may say, “I understand that you don’t agree with me, but I appreciate that you’ve at least given me a fair hearing.”
In a calm, unemotional way, it is perfectly fine to have a difference of opinion. It is good to discuss calmly what the facts are, to share your understanding of what is truth, and to seek to understand their point of view. It is okay to agree to disagree. You can disagree without being disagreeable.
The bottom line is that we need much more listening and understanding, and much less talking.
As it pertains to leadership, remember, employees make mistakes. People make mistakes – even great people. We all make mistakes – and if we are wise, we learn from them.
Think about it. Haven’t lessons learned from mistakes been some of the most lasting life lessons you’ve ever had?
You want your people working hard and fast, taking educated risks to the point where they are right on the edge of their capabilities. The fact is, they will occasionally step over the edge. They’re going to make mistakes. Great leaders value people that make mistakes. They give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to get better because of them.
As you go through your day – in your conversations and dealing with others – decide that the big you will show up. Not everyone will have the same opinions as you, and not everyone should. And people will make mistakes, including you. Be the big you, and turn the other cheek.