Forgiveness Power Tool
Home improvement shows have long promoted the power of responsible measuring.
Based on the concept of measure twice, cut once, the forgiveness power tool uses these tried and true techniques to live in peace with others.
In a conflict, you can be quick to judge the situation, often demonizing the other person and cutting off the relationship. But Bob Villa might say that your
measurements of the conflict were off, leading to inaccurate cuts. A relationship should be treated like a treasured door from an historic house. Take care to look at the door,
identifying its faults as well as finding its hidden treasures. With this complete picture, you can find the best use for the door.
Rather than using a strong blade to cut off relationships, the forgiveness power tool measures the situation, looks for growth opportunities, and lets go of the
pain. At your next conflict, try these simple steps.
Step 1: Identify the Issue
What just happened to bring the situation to a boil? Did the conflict arise from old sticky issues that bother you?
Find a simple way to describe the issue. For example, my hot button is bad service. If I'm in a hurried mood, I notice bad service more often than if I'm relaxed.
For me, bad service isn't about a lax waiter. It's about my tendency to judge the performance of others when I'm feeling upset. If I'm feeling fearful, my judgment stems from my
fears of not performing well. Along comes a waiter and I focus on his faults instead of dealing with my own fears. It's that old mirror thing-others outside of me become a
reflection of my own inner issues. Identifying the issue means looking deeply at yourself, measuring what you bring to the conflict.
Step 2: Take Responsibility and Give Credit
What is your responsibility in the conflict and what belongs to the other person? What benefits will you gain from this experience?
A carpenter is always measuring the wood, determining what is needed to build the house. Taking responsibility is like taking stock, laying claim to what's yours and
letting others take what's theirs. In a conflict, there are two people and two sets of responsibilities to be claimed.
For example, I have a long history of feeling slighted by my mother. At a certain point I realized that I didn't even have to be in the same room with my mother to
feel upset. I would mull over past slights in my mind, so she didn't even need to be present for me to feel hurt. In measuring my responsibility, I realized that in my mirror, I
was seeing all of her actions as a reflection of past hurts. My mother has had some less than stellar moments, for which she has graciously taken responsibility in the many healing
talks that we have shared. I give us both credit for working to heal the past and live in the present moment in our current relationship. Take responsibility and credit for the
growth that the situation offers.
Step 3: Let Go of the Burden
What benefits will you derive from letting go of the pain? Can you break the chains of pain to move forward in peace?
It can be challenging to move to the cutting phase, confident that you have measured well. Measuring is a thought process where you determine if you are about to do
the right thing. Cutting is an action done based upon your conviction that you can move forward. Letting go of the burden happens on many levels, including releasing resentment
toward the other person, accepting the resolution of the situation, and moving forward based on wisdom gained from the experience.
Often you can become stuck in the thought process of healing and not move forward to the action of healing. For many years I thought about healing the relationship
with my mother, but I didn't actively let go of my resentment toward her. To let go of the burden, I had to let go of the painful scenarios of the past and look forward to the
healing light of the present. I had to choose between either reliving the pain or living in peace.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Life is about being aware of the hazards of carrying a sharp blade. You will hurt others and they will hurt you. The balm of forgiveness is an essential tool on
every carpenter's belt, to be used with care in moments when life goes awry by following the simple instructions: Think well, then act.
Find More Do-it-Yourself Spirituality Tools
Use author Vicky Thompson's do-it-yourself spirituality tools to create your own simple spiritual practices.
Copyright © 2002-2010 by Vicky Thompson