Forgive ... not Seven Times, but Seventy-Seven Times

Written by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach and Consultant

Yes, it was a difficult weekend. I had houseguests, and one of them has truly been wronged. Not once, but many times. Not by strangers, but by his own family. Not long ago, but long ago and recently.

It made me angry just to hearrepparttar stories, though he told them only as they related torepparttar 126144 conversation at hand (“So what happened to your father’s farm?” sort of thing), and there was no rancor on his part. Incredulously, he appears to have made his peace with some real injustices. But then that’s one ofrepparttar 126145 reasons we all love him so much.

My friend is very forgiving, and there’s a reason why: he’s had a lot of practice. Forgiveness is like another EQ competency, Resilience. The good news is you can learn it. The bad news is there will always be opportunity. And you can reverse those two!

So, yes, my friend is very forgiving. I imagine he has forgiven 77 times. If you’re familiar withrepparttar 126146 Biblical passage: “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member ofrepparttar 126147 church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’”

This forgiving friend of mine is of-an-age, and also a physician.

“How could you forgive him for that?” I asked him, about a particularly unjust occurrence.

“Because I want to live and preserve my health,” he said.

Physicians know about emotions and health.


There’s a story currently circulatingrepparttar 126148 Internet about a Native American grandfather “whose eyes have seen too much,” talking with his grandson. The boy was talking about an injustice that had happened that day that left him enraged.

The grandfather admitted that he, too, had felt such rage. “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart,” he toldrepparttar 126149 child. “One wolf isrepparttar 126150 vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf isrepparttar 126151 loving, compassionate one.”

The grandfather said, “I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”

When he finished talking,repparttar 126152 grandson asked him, “Which wolf will winrepparttar 126153 fight in your heart?”

“The one I feed,” repliedrepparttar 126154 grandfather.

[Go here to readrepparttar 126155 whole story]


Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about forgiveness. It’srepparttar 126156 story of a Spanish father and his teenage son who are at odds, and eventuallyrepparttar 126157 strained relationship breaks. When Paco,repparttar 126158 rebellious son, runs away from home, his father begins a long, grief-stricken search to find him and bring him back.

As a last resort,repparttar 126159 exhausted father placed an ad in a Madrid newspaper, hoping his son would seerepparttar 126160 ad and respond to it. The ad read:

Dear Paco, Please meet me in front ofrepparttar 126161 newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. Love, Father

As Hemingway tellsrepparttar 126162 story,repparttar 126163 next day at noon, in front ofrepparttar 126164 newspaper office, there are 800 Pacos, all seeking forgiveness from their fathers.


We have all been wronged. I have been. You have been. Your father has been. The queen of England has been. No one escapes. Some of us have been egregiously wronged and live with rage … for a week, a year, a lifetime. Our anger interferes with our ability to forgive. And why, perhaps you are asking, should you forgive? There has been incest … infidelity … theft … betrayal … Certainly you’re justified in your rancor after what’s been done to you. Frederick Buechner, theologian, writes: “Ofrepparttar 126165 seven deadly sins, anger is possiblyrepparttar 126166 most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tonguerepparttar 126167 prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor torepparttar 126168 last toothsome morsel bothrepparttar 126169 pain you are given andrepparttar 126170 pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton atrepparttar 126171 feast is you.”

Once Upon a Time … How to Facilitate Change in Others

Written by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach & Consultant

Once upon a time … all stories began that way. At least around my house. “Tell me a story,” I would beg my mother, or my grandmother, and they would sit back, with a twinkle in their eye, often pulling me into their lap, and begin … “Once upon a time.” [sigh]

Key torepparttar experience, there was no eye contact. I sat beside them, or on their lap, or they were lying down beside me at bedtime, or drivingrepparttar 126143 car. It wasn’t an in-your-face experience. This is part of it. Part of what? Let me tell you a story first, and then I’ll tell you about telling stories.

So settle back, close your eyes, and let’s begin …

Once upon a time there was a wise and powerful king who had two vassals. One, Sir Rodrick, was known for being stingy and mean. The king sent him out on a task. He was to travelrepparttar 126144 kingdom and find one good person.

Sir Rodrick returned after many days saying in allrepparttar 126145 kingdom he hadn’t been able to find one good person. He said he had found some who did some things that appeared to be good, but it was an illusion, and underneath they were all selfish and wicked. As to a truly good person, there were none.

Next,repparttar 126146 king sent Sir Roland out on a mission. Sir Roland was known for his generosity and love for his people. His task was to travelrepparttar 126147 kingdom and find one bad person.

Sir Roland failed as well. He returned many days later saying in allrepparttar 126148 kingdom he had not been able to find one bad person. He had found some who inadvertently went astray, temporarily, but underneath they were all good and kind. As to a truly bad person, there were none.


What do I have to say about this story? Not a thing. Anything I say would damage it for you. It speaks for itself, and it speaks to you in its own way, and that’srepparttar 126149 way good stories are. The ones that begin with “once upon a time…”


In a fascinating article called “Myth, Metaphor and Magic,” Patrice Guillaume exploresrepparttar 126150 power ofrepparttar 126151 Three Ms as related torepparttar 126152 functions ofrepparttar 126153 left and right brain. Our left hemisphere is analytical, logical and linear; it seesrepparttar 126154 trees and notrepparttar 126155 forest. Our right hemisphere is highly specialized to manage complex relationships, patterns, configurations and structures; it cannot seerepparttar 126156 trees forrepparttar 126157 forest. The two hemispheres function well together, and not so well alone.

Here’s how different they are. In research with individuals who’ve lostrepparttar 126158 function of one hemisphere orrepparttar 126159 other, it’s been discovered that when told to “match’ a picture of a cake,repparttar 126160 left hemisphere will match it functionally – choosing a spoon or a fork. The right hemisphere will match it according to appearance – choosing something withrepparttar 126161 same shape, such as a hat.


In their book “Left Brain Right Brain,” Michael Gazzaniga and Joseph LeDoux drawrepparttar 126162 conclusion thatrepparttar 126163 major task ofrepparttar 126164 left hemisphere (our “verbal self”) is to construct a reality based on our actual behavior. The left brain doesn’t always know why we’re doing something. “It is as ifrepparttar 126165 verbal self looks out and sees whatrepparttar 126166 person is doing, and from that knowledge it interprets a reality.”

So, somewhat simplified, you could say our behaviors originate inrepparttar 126167 right brain, while our left brain is left to justify our actions. I’m sure you knowrepparttar 126168 feeling of trying to explain something you did, when you really haven’t a clue!

Now, follow this line of reasoning: IF our behavior originates inrepparttar 126169 right brain (and is only explained intellectually inrepparttar 126170 left);

AND we want to change someone’s behavior (as a parent, coach or therapist, for instance) or change our own;

THEN why not save our selves some trouble and talk torepparttar 126171 right brain, notrepparttar 126172 left brain.

Makes perfect sense. But … ifrepparttar 126173 right brain doesn’t use words, how do we communicate with it? The answer is …


Analogic communication includes figurative language, puns, jokes, metaphor, poetry, art, music, ambiguities and allusions as well as non-verbal communication, such as posture, gestures, facial expressions, voice inflection, tone of voice, andrepparttar 126174 sequence, rhythm and cadence ofrepparttar 126175 words themselves.

It’s descriptive,repparttar 126176 stuff of myth, metaphor, dreams and “once upon a time” type stories.

In a way that’s hard to explain, because “explaining” is whatrepparttar 126177 left brain does, information take intorepparttar 126178 right hemispheres has far more effect on behavior. It’srepparttar 126179 way to “reach” someone, to “touch” them. Intuitively we know this.

Along with this isrepparttar 126180 NOT-IN-YOUR-FACE experience. When we get in someone’s face – literally and figuratively –repparttar 126181 guard ofrepparttar 126182 Other goes up. Down comesrepparttar 126183 reflector shield, and up comerepparttar 126184 defenses. We turn off and tune out. When a story is delivered, withoutrepparttar 126185 intimidation of eye contact,repparttar 126186 effect is different.


Want someone to get up and help you clean house? Try playing a march by John Philip Sousa. Go here: and play “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Oh yes! (My son and I used to clean house to this when he was a preschooler. Not a problem.)

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