In the next paragraph, I’m going to share past research that was fascinating. But that is NOT where this blog is heading—it’s just setting the stage!
In one of my favorite Harvard Business Review articles of all time, they studied what great CEOs did versus those who turned out to be “not so great.” One of the surprising discoveries had to do with how they communicate their “failures”with others. The top CEOs had failures just as big or bigger than the others. But they didn’t hide them. They called them “setbacks” because of their poor decision making at the time. And they would always tell what they learned and how they are different now. Versus those CEOs who tried to hide their past disappointments.
Now for Dr. Rob’s perspective. How they acted on the outside was a reflection of how they dealt with their failures and hurts on the inside. Why would I conclude that? Let’s go back and look at that “mental poison that destroys the system from within.”
Here is the larger paragraph, something that I’ve explored in a blog several years ago:
When you cannot forgive the people who have hurt you, these feelings become a mental poison that destroys the system from within. As numerous studies have shown, hatred, spite, bitterness, and vindictiveness create fertile ground for stress disorders, negatively affecting your immune system. And, to boot, an unforgiving attitude is positively correlated to depression, anxiety, hostility, and neuroticism, and associated with premature death.
Hmmm. Really? As my younger friends might say, “Yep. For reals.”
If a doctor told you, “We have discovered that you have condition associated with premature death. The good news is that we have some medicine that you can take that will heal you” … would you take that medicine?
Of course you would!!!
OK, here is your medicine: you have to forgive the people who have hurt you.
Friends, this is not me telling you this. This is not God, or your cleric or a leader of some new age “touchy-feely” retreat. This is the research. This is the conclusion of studies printed in Harvard Business Review after decades of research!
YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE.
“Dr. Rob, I’ll forgive them when they ask for forgiveness.” Bad answer.
“They don’t deserve to be forgiven.” Probably true, but this isn’t about them.
“I can’t forgive them for what they’ve done.” A) Not true, and B) Then you will spend the rest of your life paying the price for someone else’s sin.
AND IT GETS WORSE.
From the same article: Those who cannot forgive… will never be the kinds of leaders that get the best out their followers.
Wait… did you read that? You’d better read the last sentence again.
The research says this: When unforgiveness is in your life, you treat people differently… but you don’t even know it.
Bottom Line: When you are carrying that hurt with you, you’re not as good as you think you are. To make it worse, others see it, but you don’t.
Now are you ready to start that journey towards true forgiveness?
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