Forgiveness as a Family Tradition

Forgiveness as a Family Tradition

Once a month I experience a treat. No it’s not a massage (although that sounds like a fabulous idea right now!), nor another trip to the Mediterranean.

What I get to experience as a treat is a business support group meeting where I surround myself with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

We gather for our Vistage group, a business support group where we check in about what is most present for us regarding our health, our personal relationships and our professional life. We hear great guest speakers, eat lunch and catch up, and work together on coaching each other on challenges we are experiencing.

During our last meeting I was so inspired by what one of our members shared that I wanted to share it with you. He was talking about a family tradition they have called “Redemption.”

From what I understood about it, it’s an opportunity where if one of the family members (he, his wife, or one of his two kids) did or said something that was out of alignment with being a loving family, they can ask for redemption.

What they receive is the opportunity to ask for forgiveness, which in his words, “alienates upset really quickly.” He further shared that each member of the family has the right to ask for it.

Think about that for a moment.

Each person has the right to ask for it, which creates room and a safe space for forgiveness. I find that to be a pretty amazing tradition.

Can you think of a time in your life where you wish you were given that same opportunity?! I personally can think of many.

In reflecting back to a few of those…I think if I had that opportunity, some relationships could have been salvaged, some anxiety or stress could have been alleviated, and personal growth would definitely have been a factor. Both for me and the person(s) I was interacting with.

I also think about how if I had thought about this idea myself, I could have also created that safe space for others. Regardless of how angry or hurt I was, being able to offer them the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and thereby deepening our relationship.

So maybe another way of looking at redemption is as a reconnection. Not just reconnecting with the other person but when we have an opportunity to release tension, anxiety, stress or guilt, we then are able to reconnect with ourselves.

This could impact not only personal relationships but also professional ones.

I also relate this to breaching of values. We each have values, whether they are conscious to us or not. We each have what we value in the areas of work, family, relationships, our career, money, health, and so on. But we aren’t always clear about them and they can certainly change over time.

I have always been fascinated by anything that has to do with communication and the realm of relationships. Any relationship – since they are all important in each of their own ways.

One of the reasons we attract people and circumstances into our life is so that we can learn about ourselves. We gain clarity about what we don’t want, what we do want, and why those things are even important to us.

Well, one way we can gain even more self-awareness is by getting to know what we do truly value. What are yours? If you haven’t taken the time to think about it, now is always a good time – and don’t be surprised if you recognize that some of your values have changed.

Once you get clear about them you may then have an easier time recognizing why you get triggered or upset about a situation or by a certain individual. Really what’s happening is that they are bumping up against your values. It could simply be that maybe their values differ than yours.  Yet we also take things personally or we make them wrong for doing it.

So going back to the “redemption” request…it’s like saying “I can see that I hurt you in some way and I’m curious about what value I confronted. I would love the opportunity to ask for forgiveness as my goal is to be consistent with who I am as a loving and compassionate person. I want to learn more about what you value and how I can honor that even though it’s different than mine.”

It may sound like it’s easier said than done. But then again, why not just ask? Oh and might I dare say that you can also do this in the work place?! I am daring to say that. We are seeing emotional intelligence trainings and assessments being done, so what is the use of doing all of this research when we don’t implement new practices?

The real question is what is or has it cost you by not offering that redemption opportunity? Respect? A friend? An important relationship? An employee?

We can probably all learn something from this beautiful family tradition.

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