Monday, November 30, 2009

A Really Important Post on Forgiveness

Jeff's comment is long, but it's worth reading.
"I have to confess: I have reacted badly to others' behavior. I have cussed and stewed and gestured and engaged in totally inappropriate behavior while driving. I was an angry driver, and when I arrived at my destination, I was angry and annoyed by everyone around me. While driving, I made myself more and more angry each time the car next to me changed lanes without signaling or someone ahead of me slowed way down because they were confused by the construction signs. I was reacting. I was a 'reactive' being. (Mrs. Ditter note: Look at Jeff's word choice: I made myself more angry. I love how he takes responsibility for his emotional reaction.)
"Eventually, I realized this behavior was making me toxic and sick. So I changed MY behavior. I chose to smile instead of frown. I chose to wave my hand instead of just one finger. I chose a different emotion...I chose to be calm. 

"By practicing this in traffic, I became less angry and annoyed by other things. I stopped mumbling sarcastic remarks under my breath in traffic and in the office. I chose to smile. I realized that just like anything else in life that I wanted to be good at, it takes practice, it takes rehearsal and it takes planning.
"The second key was the discovery that if I visualized myself as an 'observer' instead of a 'participant' in a heated exchange, it was easier for me to choose how I reacted. Again, this takes practice and anticipation and planning.
(Mrs. Ditter note: Practice, practice, practice. He's not saying it's an instant miracle solution.) I practiced at work with co-workers and with customers. I didn't get sucked into the negative void they were creating in their world. I chose to stay 'neutral', which is quite different from disengaging or 'unplugging'. We all know people like this, and I didn't want to become a cold fish or an uncaring person. So again I chose to stay engaged and I chose not to react emotionally. I was thoughtful. I was in the moment. And I was able to keep my end goal (whatever it might be) in my mind's eye. And people responded to me differently.”

I just don't have anything to add to this, other than to say: Jeff, you are a huge inspiration. Thanks for writing.
See you tomorrow, folks. 

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