Helping leaders emerge


Why Forgive?

As you prepare for your holidays, I thought I’d share a practice one of my clients has been working with and how it has benefited him and then other practices that support cultivating joy, always helpful during holiday stress.

This leader’s father was behaving badly toward my client so he was feeling stuck and full of anger. My client realized his rage was zapping his energy and he really wanted to figure out a way to let go of the negative emotions and feel more joy, more calm, and confident at work and with his family.

We talked about the importance of forgiveness and how it may help. After a bit of resistance, my client decided to try a forgiveness practice (see resources below). Over time, he learned that by forgiving his father, he was not condoning his father’s actions but rather cultivating a self-care practice which enabled him to manage the strong, painful feelings he was struggling with, and in the end, show up happier.

Keep in mind, forgiveness is often a slow and painful process; we do it for ourselves, not the other person. We forgive but we don’t forget; we don’t condone the bad behavior. Forgiveness allows us to take control of our own destiny, understand those in pain often cause pain, and enables us to show up more joyful, lighter, and freer.

This leader and other clients have successfully used the following forgiveness resources.

The 12 Principles of Forgiveness by Jack Kornfield.

  1. Understanding what forgiveness is and what it is not.
  2. Sense the suffering that comes with the inability to forgive.
  3. Reflect on the benefits of a loving heart.
  4. Discover (in relation to your identity), you don’t have to be loyal to your suffering.
  5. Understand that forgiveness is a process, not a single action.
  6. You have to set your intention for forgiveness.
  7. Learn the inner and outer forms of forgiveness.
  8. Start with the easiest thing that can open your heart.
  9. Be willing to grieve and let go.
  10. Sometimes trauma is stored in our physical bodies.
  11. Shift of identity.
  12. Perspective.

Click here to view and listen to Jack Kornfield’s 12 Principles of Forgiveness (14 minutes).

Additional Resources on Forgiveness

  • Click here to listen to and practice forgiveness with Norman Fischer’s guided forgiveness meditation, a client and personal favorite (18 minutes).
  • Click here to download a worksheet about establishing a Forgiveness Practice through Meditation or Journaling.

Practices to Support Cultivating More Joy

  • Click here to read How to Show Up Cheerful During Tough Times which includes many resources to support cultivating joy.

Wishing you a peaceful, joyful, and healthy holiday season and 2023!