LEADERSHIP LESSONS THAT I’VE LEARNED: FORGIVE, FORGET, AND LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY
This may seem a little hypocritical of me to write about, because I have issues with forgiving
people and holding grudges against them. At the same time, however, I definitely notice how
holding grudges never makes me feel any better about myself or the situation. For instance,
whenever I’m in an argument with someone I care about, I tend to lash out by calling out their
flaws from the past to prove my point.
Do I enjoy doing that? I might to some extent from a logical perspective, because I always end
up winning the argument and get my point across clearly, especially if it’s something I needed
to get off my chest for a while. From a personal perspective, however, I do not enjoy it
whatsoever, especially if it’s with someone I care about. I’ve learned that holding that grudge
against someone for what they did a while ago is the only thing that’s keeping me from my
inner peace, happiness, and self-love. How does holding a grudge against someone—whether
you like them or not—going to help you feel personally better about yourself? The more you let
that grudge take control of your wrath and resentment, the harder it’ll be for you to feel
personally better about yourself and the more draining it is for you and your energy. What fun
A friend of mine recently told me that her mom always stresses this personal life lesson to her
that, “it’s okay to not like everyone, but you do have to love everyone.” In life you’re going to
be working with people you may not be too crazy about because of their mannerisms, habits,
personality, or maybe you had a bad encounter with them. But if you keep in mind and always
focus on those flaws or that one bad experience you had with them, because you can’t learn to
forgive and forget, it’s guaranteed it’ll lead to an uglier outcome. What good does that do for
you personally and the mission of the situation that needs to be resolved?
Instead, try to problem solve and get to know the person a little more and you will be amazed
by how much more forgiving you can become by listening to others’ stories. I’ve learned that
people are the way they are due to various factors such as the environment they grew up in or
due to some personal experience that affected them in the past, because they couldn’t let go of
it, which negatively affected them in the long-run. I may not always be able to completely empathize with where they come from, because we all have different experiences that shape us into our identities, but I can sympathize and respect them.
As the famous country singer, Tim McGraw preaches in his song, Humble and Kind, “Don’t hold
a grudge or a chip and here’s why: Bitterness keeps you from smiling.” I totally agree with him.
Learn to forgive and forget and you will be amazed how much better you feel about yourself.
Meili West currently serves as a Organizational Development Specialist for SOS Leadership. She is a student at St. Edward’s University where she will graduate in December.