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Finding Forgiveness- Tips on how to forgive even when it’s difficult

forgivenessEvery Christian knows where Jesus stood on the act of forgiveness. Steve Cornell, a senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church, points out, “Jesus clearly warned that God will not forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25). It’s not that we earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving; instead, God expects forgiven people to forgive (Matthew18: 21-25).” Even though giving forgiveness is an expectation of Christian people, it is not always so easy to provide. A spouse has an affair, a friend talks badly about you to another friend, a criminal breaks into your house and steals personal items that were important you. No matter what the situation, granting forgiveness to those who hurt you can be difficult. In conflicts, forgiveness is necessary if reconciliation is to occur.

So why is it so difficult to forgive? According to Wayne Stiles, the Executive Vice President for Insight for Living Ministries, forgiving is difficult because “[…] we feel that not forgiving is our payback to our offender. But in truth, unforgiveness tortures us more than it does anyone else.” He goes on to explain, “ The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real. […] And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken.” Forgiveness is difficult for people who experience a reoccurrence of pain in their lives.

Throughout my life, the challenge has often been granting forgiveness to someone who is not apologetic. I have felt that if I forgave a person who hurt me without them apologizing then they are getting away with it. In an article by Lynette Holy on the Power to Change website she explains, “Forgiving someone does not cancel out the consequences of their actions.” Dr. Andrea Brandt, author of Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom writes, “By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. This can be a gradual process—and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving.”

Unfortunately, there is not a particular process that works for every person on how to forgive. Depending on the situation and the people, each process is different. However, there are some suggested tips to move toward forgiveness.

Angela Haupt, a senior editor for U.S News, suggests “[Expressing] the emotion. Let yourself feel hurt and angry. Verbalize the way you feel. Ideally, express it to the person who made you feel that way. Otherwise, talk to a stand-in friend or even an empty chair. Write a letter; you don’t need to send it.” Allowing your thoughts and feelings to get out of your head can be a very therapeutic process, people often internalize, and it wears down their energy.

The Mayo Clinic Staff advises that you, “Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health, and well-being.” Understanding your role, feelings, and thoughts on the situation permits you to gain perspective.

E.C LaMeaux from Gaiam Life suggests that you, “Develop empathy. […] Looking at things from another person’s perspective takes you out of your bubble of hurt, and may make it easier to become more forgiving.” In my graduate courses, we have been required to write about the same conflict from multiple perspectives. Doing this activity has been difficult, but it has allowed me to take myself out of the equation and brainstorm why the other person acted or said what they did. I found it easier to approach the conflict or move on from the conflict once I gained this perspective.

Finally, The Mayo Clinic Staff recommends you, “Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.” To forgive does not mean you forget, but that you are no longer letting this person or situation effect your day-to-day life.

Granting forgiveness to someone that hurts you is not always an easy task, but continuing to harbor a grudge can be detrimental to your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Abigail Clark

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore –

Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

 

 

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The Battle Between Customer and Customer Service- How to Increase Your Chances for Resolution!

customerservice

Have you ever been in a situation where you bought a product, and when you went to use it, it did not work? Or it was missing a part? Then when you tried to complain you found yourself on hold, or talking to a customer service representative who does not have the authority to resolve the issue? Or worse you never received a response at all? Customers are left feeling angry and helpless in these situations. So what can a customer do to get their complaint acknowledged and resolved?

Before you call or email the company, you must first remember to remain calm. You, as the client, are less likely to resolve your complaint if you begin yelling at the customer service representative or using all caps in an email. Regina Lewis from USA Today suggests, “Be business-like and think of yourself in the third person, almost like you are handling a matter on behalf of someone else.” By remaining business-like, you take the emotion out of the problem and address the issue at hand.

Another step suggested by Tom Barlow a contributor for Forbes is to “think through what outcome will make you happy: a refund? A replacement? An apology? An upgrade? And get your facts straight: Know your rights by reviewing warranties and the policies of the company in question”. Before filing a complaint, it is important to recognize what you can realistically achieve so that you can resolve it successfully. If you have unrealistic expectations then you are most likely not going to reach the results you want.

Once you call, what should you do if the customer service representative does not have the authority to provide a resolution? Tom Barlow advises, “ If you aren’t getting anywhere with the phone rep, escalate: Ask to talk to a supervisor, and keep on reaching up the chain until you’re put in touch with someone with the power to grant your request.” It is essential to speak with someone who has the decision- making authority to resolve the issue. Businesses do not want to risk losing you as a customer. One dissatisfied customer could share their negative experience with others, which could be harmful to the company. For this reason, resolution is best for all parties involved.

If you have escalated your issue to someone with authority and still are not receiving results, there are other options available to you. The Internet has become a great place to voice dissatisfaction, and if done properly, you can see results. Kimberly Palmer, a senior editor for U.S. News Money, explains “the general public can be a receptive audience, especially when you are complaining about a common cause.” To complain properly using online forums you must post something that will elicit a response from the company, this does not mean slandering the company. If you are posting negative comments, you are less likely to see your goals met. It could also backfire and make YOU appear immature or irrational.

There are additional outlets available for you and other customers filing complaints other than the Internet. One organization that was previously featured on The Texas Conflict Coach is the Council of Better Business Bureau. The BBB is a company that focuses on building an improved connection between companies and purchasers. Kimberly Palmer suggests the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which “makes complaints public in a database, so customers can easily search to see if other people have faced similar problems and how those problems were resolved”. These organizations act as supporters for the client who is not being heard and can assist in getting an issue fixed.

Finally, remember to say “thank you”, to anyone who assists you in getting your problem solved. As pointed out by Regina Lewis, a simple “thank you” is often overlooked, but could have an impact on getting your complaint resolved quickly.

Abigail Clark

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore –

Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

 

 

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