The Angst of No Forgiveness

CommunicationWhat do you do when there's a breakdown in communication with a client? How do you handle the situation and come to a resolution? After reading this commentary, please comment and weigh in, I would like your ideas and feedback. I find I am greatly impacted when someone I am working with is dissatisfied or upset with me, especially when I am able to identify what I have done that caused the upset. I know that if their upset is “on me”, meaning I am the one responsible for that person's distress or discomfort, the onus is “on me” to apologize and do whatever is necessary to resolve the situation. Most often I am ready and willing to take responsibility for my part in a scenario such as I have described.

I am writing about this topic because I have had a tough month in the realm of communication. Perhaps Mercury is retrograde or void of course, perhaps I am in a learning curve, whatever the reason, it has been painful. I am hoping these communication challenges come in groups of three and I have completed for the time being. The good news is that two of the three ended well, but as you might expect, I am focused on the one that didn’t find resolution.

A conundrum occurs when I am not allowed to make things right or when I own up and that isn’t good enough to even dent the surface of the upset. Even though I have an intellectual understanding that yes, we all make mistakes, I find myself in a rabbit hole when (I believe) I am being perceived as a “bad person.” Whether this happens in my personal life or my business life doesn't matter, I find that if I am not given an opportunity to make things right to the best of my ability I feel hurt, punished, and/or resentful.

I don’t assume that the upset person would continue to work with me or go deeper into the relationship, but when things are left hanging with unrest and discomfort, we both continue to carry that load. I want to be released and ultimately forgiven. I would like the other person to be free of the angst I triggered. Again, this is not to say we have to resolve and go forward. That's one option, but not necessarily the preferred option.

I've noticed that when an unresolved situation completes, it's not usually a surprise to me. I can look back and recall the upset person having had an unresolvable dynamic with someone else. From experience, I know it's only a matter of time before I'm going to bump up against that particular behavior. I am not immune to that which other people are subjected to. Given this insight, it would be better for me if I paid attention when the red flag appears, waving in my face to remind me. When I'm not in alignment with how someone handles a difficult situation, I need to say my piece and if I am not being heard, let that guide my next decision.

I know that its human nature to have misunderstandings and disagreements. It’s the price we pay each time this happens that concerns me. The upset I feel can be overwhelming, self-deprecating, and render me powerless. I don’t like any of those feelings and want to be motivated to improve my behavior and pay more attention to the waving flags. I guess the positive take away is that the pain of an unresolved relationship eases over time and eventually becomes but an occasional ping in the memory bank.

Next week I plan to write about forgiveness in the context of professional misunderstanding and mistakes. The two situations I mentioned that ended well are worth of commentary. Most significantly, I experienced a wakeup call when I was so graciously forgiven by someone who had every right to rake me over the coals. Was I ever surprised!