Remember Their Names

Wisdom is not so rare as you might think.

I receive an email each morning from DMW/Strategic Consulting.  I read many of them and am seldom disappointed.  February 11th’s is entitled “Getting your Mojo Back” and it has a profound thought.

The article deals with the things in your life that rob you of the energy and motivation to accomplish the things you want, value, and are able to achieve.  It provides seven things you could address.

The one that caught my attention was number 1.  Forgiveness.

“I call this one ‘giving up all hope for a better past’. Part of releasing an energy drain comes down to embracing common sense. At every level, you have to realize that you cannot fix the past. When we release a hindrance on the past, we get back all the energy it takes to hold on to what could have been, what might have been and what should have been. Ask yourself, “What is it costing me to hold on to this part of the past?”

How brilliant is the Lily Tomlin idea, forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.  Then what is it costing me to hold on to this part of the past?

Once you see it in that context, you understand you cannot change the past but forgiveness can minimize it’s cost. What is interesting is that the person who you forgive, the person who does not deserve forgiveness, the person who is evil personified, need not know you have forgiven them.  They can continue to feel bad about how they treated you or not.  You still gain the benefit.

How good is that?  You can gain a benefit in the real world without the real world getting in your way or demanding anything in return.  Rare indeed!

Forgiveness removes a psychological cost.

There is a flip side to the forgiveness thing.  You can carry forward things in your past that have been good.  Notice them and be grateful for them.  Again a benefit for no cost.

Gratitude enhances the present.  Forgiveness reduces the cost.  The past is the sum of your experience.  Reducing its current cost while increasing it current value provides a net gain that is quite important. 

That is as Tom Frisby pointed out in his article,

Part of releasing an energy drain comes down to embracing common sense

Now, I would like to believe that because it is common sense, it will be relatively easy to forgive. It will not be easy.  Pain is deeply set in our persona and it will take a long time to expunge it completely.  Consciously choosing to forgive is a first step and it makes the flashbacks and the anger easier to cope with as they appear.

Carrying grudges forward is too expensive.  Refuse to play the game.  Maybe choose, “Forgive those who have hurt you, but remember their names.”

While making the list of names to be forgiven and remembered, notice the name that leads the list.  Your own.  Forgive yourself.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.


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