Don’t be too quick or too slow to forgive

We’re told that it’s compassionate to forgive ourselves and other people.

It’s a great principle, sorely lacking in detail.

When, for example, is the time to forgive? And how do we do it?

By rushing to forgive we risk pushing legitimate feelings underground. On the other hand refusing to forgive is a lost opportunity for deeper connection and means that we carry unnecessary pain.

People react along the continuum of fast to slow depending on who they are and the situation, some things have a greater impact than others.

But at the extremes are:

  • Those who never forgive.
  • Those who forgive instantaneously.

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Fault-finders

There’s a fine line between demanding people and fault-finders.

Demanding people bring out the best in us by showing us what worked and didn’t.

We may feel upset that a report we slaved over doesn’t meet expectations and keeps coming back. But the feedback enables us to see what worked and where we’ve made wrong assumptions, left things out or there are areas that can be strengthened. Not only do the insights improve the current report but they also provide a mechanism for review that improves our work in the long term. Every iteration is an improvement. This is constructive.

Picky people are a different beast. They’re not interested in what’s good and bad, what worked and did not they head straight for what’s wrong and focus on nothing else.

There are other ways to describe these types: nitpicking, fault-finding, carping, critical.

The picky can be parents, partners, colleagues, friends, ourselves. What they have in common is that no matter how hard you try or what you accomplish it is never enough. The subtext of course is that: nor are you.

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4 tips for being a ‘learner’ not a ‘mistake-avoider’

We learn by failing, iff failing means not getting things right all of the time.

Whether it’s those first steps, our running style or scientific discoveries that come only after trials are ditched and techniques refined, learning is process.

We are not built for perfection.

Experiments have conclusively shown that we are hard-wired to think in ways that may help us survive, but are innately flawed and that we shape realities on shaky foundations and false evidence as visual illusions show.

Even where there are no apparent flaws, we are born into cultures that define value relative to colour, creed and sex (to name but a few) and so a healthy, thinking wo/man can as easily become an enemy of the state if the circumstances allow.

So why I ask myself, has perfection become an acceptable goal? And why do we let it define our value?

We want the perfect body, partner, boss or job, a Vogue house, ideal parents, faultless kids, it seems there’s no end to our list (or lust) to achieve it.

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