Aug 12, 2007

Forgive and move on

A recent story in the local paper covered one of Quebec's most talented artists, Patrick Huard.

Huard gained fame first as a comedian. He then made a successful transition to the screen and has acted in more than 10 movies. One of his movies, Bon Cop Bad Cop, is the most successful Canadian box office hit of all time. This year, he is directing his first movie, Three Little Pigs.

During his interview, Huard says that some directors have complained that he is taking work away from them. They are saying that he should not direct a film because he hasn't studied the craft like they have.

Huard also says that he got the same type of flak when he made a transition from comedian to acting.

This is isn't the first time, and it won't be the last, that people get upset because someone tries to shake up the status quo. The first reaction is jealousy and often an attempt to stop the mavericks.

Think of the first women or the first Blacks who wanted to vote. Many were not too keen about the idea.

Think of the first civilians who want to attempt space flight. NASA was not too keen about the idea. All of a sudden, the grueling training that astronauts receive doesn't seem that important anymore. It takes away some of the panache of space flight.

I remember a few years ago, there was a dispute in Quebec about the profession of computer programmer. Engineers wanted to change some statutes to ensure that unless you had an engineering diploma, you could not call yourself "a programmer".

The problem with this is that when you let jealousy get the best of you, it prevents you from moving forward. Why? Because you are constantly fighting a battle to prevent things from progressing.

Jealousy, or holding a grudge, is like a poison flowing through your veins. And if you leave it unchecked, it slowly takes over you, clouds your judgement, and destroys your life.

In his program, "The Psychology of Achievement", Brian Tracy spends some time discussing forgiveness. He says, and I believe, that until you have forgiven and let go of the past, you cannot achieve ultimate success. Something will always be holding you back.

So, if you find yourself seething because someone else has something you don't, if you find yourself angry at people in your life, if your feelings towards other people are keeping you from getting to where you want to be in life, it may be time to forgive.

Forgiving will change much of your perspective on life. Once you have made a conscious decision to forgive, it's as if a weight is suddenly lifted from your shoulders.

I did this a very long time ago, without realizing how important it was to my further development as a human being, as a son, as a brother, as a friend, as a husband, and as a father.

I realize, now, that forgiveness is essential in business also. Many times, I have seen people go into a business deal with an aggressive attitude, with an attitude that says "You are not going to take advantage of me!" This makes it difficult to discuss, understand, and negotiate with a prospect or partner.

Someone who goes into a business endeavor with that attitude may have been wounded in the past. And because that wound still hurts, he may not accept that the person at the other end of this deal is not "out to get him". He will negotiate with a little voice constantly nagging in the back of his head. The little voice will be saying, "He wants to take you to the cleaners. He just wants to make money at your expense. He's going to take advantage of you." (Let me assure you that the same thing happens to women also!)

If you want to silence that little voice, use the power of forgiveness. Here it is in three steps:
  1. Forgive your parents: most parents do the best they can with their children. And still, we (the parents) manage to mess up. Forgive your parents, completely. You don't need to tell them if your relationship with them is not conducive to such a discussion. Forgiveness is for you, not for them.
  2. Forgive other people: forgive anyone who has ever hurt you, no matter what they did. Once again, you do not have to tell them that you forgive them. Just do it.
  3. Forgive yourself: this may be the toughest one of all. Forgive yourself for all of the stoopid things you did in your life, whether you did it to others, or you did it to yourself.
Although this is easy to write, I realise that it is not necessarily easy to do. It took me years to go through the process. And periodically, I still need to forgive myself for the "bad things" I do.

What has helped me to forgive? Speaking to happy people. Reading about people who are happy with their lives. Having a good support group does wonders also.

I have learned, over time, to give every one the benefit of the doubt. To err is human, to forgive is divine. And it's much easier to let it go than it is to hang on to a grudge for a lifetime.

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