Restoring Peace of Mind Through Completion & Acknowledgement
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Key points of discussion:
Let’s return to the theme of communication, and–in particular–to the special qualities of
Next installment we’ll look closely at Acknowledgment and the general topic of Completion (which is the aim of all these special forms of communication). This will also be the topic of my M&M Workshop on September 14th at Noon PT, to which you are cordially invited. (Details to come.)
The first thing to note about apologies—something we learned in a profound way through the #MeToo movement—is that you can’t say, “I’m sorry, but…” The “but” nullifies the power of “I’m sorry.” Apologies must be whole-hog, or they have no effect. So, it’s “I’m sorry that I hurt you, no excuses, no explanations, no if’s and’s or but’s.” I understand that it’s tough to admit you wronged someone. There’s a strong desire to talk it away. You waste your breath doing so, tho. Instead, bathe in the vulnerability of your apology, let your whole being be cleaned, so you can move forward restored to your full power again.
Secondly, the power of language is such that when you say, “I’m sorry,” it can feel as tho you are identifying yourself as a miserable wretch (as in “He’s a sorry character.”), especially if you say it in a lilting, pitiful tone. Yes, you must make yourself vulnerable in order to apologize effectively; however, you needn’t reduce yourself to a sorry state. In place of “sorry,” you could say
- “I apologize”
- “My apologies”
- “Forgive me”
- “I’d like to clean something up with you”
- “I deeply regret…”
- “I beg your pardon,” “My bad,” or “My fault” (if it’s a minor offense).
Choose the formulation that best restores wholeness between you and the other person(s).
Here’s what’s interesting about requests. There are three different appropriate responses possible on the part of the requestee:
- “I accept your request.”
- “I decline the request.”
- “I have a counter-offer.”
This is beautiful, because it means that when you make a request of someone, you don’t need to put any pressure on the requestee; after all, they are free to decline the request. They are also free to take it on.
And if the requestee has mixed feelings–say s/he wants to say yes to part of the request, or s/he wants to help in some way, but not in the way requested–then s/he can say, for instance,
- “I can’t drive you all the way to [wherever you’re going], but I’d be happy to drive you to the bus station, so you can catch the bus,” or
- “I can’t drive you all the way, but I’d like to give you something to eat on your journey.”
Counter-offers are a brilliant way to create win-wins.
The power in forgiveness works very differently than we tend to think about it. If you’re like me, you think first and foremost of the effect of forgiveness on the person being forgiven.
- “She forgave him, so he’s off the hook.”
- “They forgave the loan, so we don’t have to pay them back.”
While it is true that the forgivee is freed up by the forgivers forgiveness, the forgiver experiences a freedom 10Xs that of the forgivee. My friend Johnny is fond of saying, “Forgiveness is for giving you (as forgiver) your life back!”
In fact, look right now in every corner of your professional and private life.
- Whom are you holding in contempt?
- Who owes you money?
- Who owes you an apology or a thank-you?
- Against whom do you hold a grudge?
- Against whom are you holding a judgment?
Go clean this up with them; tell them you realize you’ve been putting this between yourself and them. Now–having restored wholeness in your connection–you can then tell them in what fresh light you will relate to them going forward. For example,
- “I acknowledge that I’ve been angry with you and avoiding you ever since you challenged me last Thursday. I just didn’t know what to say till now. I want you to know that I accept and appreciate the challenge you gave me, after all.”
- “Thank you for acknowledging that you still owe me for the personal loan I gave you last summer. At this point, I’d like to forgive the loan, so you no longer need to concern yourself with paying me back. I know the money went to a good cause. That is all that matters to me. If anything, I request that you pay it forward at some point.”
In this brief article, we’ve examined the fascinating workings of three very powerful communication devices. I encourage you to reread this article periodically, not only to remind yourself how these devices work, but also to move yourself to take action and use them. Their power—your power, as communicator—can be truly life-altering.
303 747 4449
Date(s) - 09/14/2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm