This was first published on ksl.com
In response to my article on forgiveness last week, some readers have asked me to address forgiveness when the offender has what may be considered narcissistic behavior traits. These readers described some toxic behavior that should not be tolerated.
Having said that, you still want to forgive these people, (I will explain how), but that doesn't mean you should allow or subject yourself to their toxic behavior. Many people who have tolerated toxic behavior from family members for a long time can’t see how unacceptable the behavior is. They may start to think it’s normal because it’s normal in their family.
Here are some behaviors that may fall into this category:
You should still forgive them though. This means you will harbor no hate, anger, judgment, fear or resentment about them anymore. This means you have chosen to accept where and who they are, and place their fate in a higher power's hands. You can walk away from the prison of hate and pain and free yourself from any negative emotion toward this person.
Forgiveness is about letting them be a struggling, scared student in the classroom of life, just like you. Forgiveness means giving up judgment and seeing all people as having the same intrinsic worth, no matter what they do. This person is not less than you, they are just experiencing a different classroom journey than yours. They have signed up for different lessons and you can send blessings and love their way without actually spending time with them. I call this loving them from afar.
Often, this is the loving choice you must make.
If this person is someone you are forced to spend time with this may become harder. You will need to build a force field of trust and love around you to protect yourself as you interact with them.
This force field is built of trust that nothing they say or do can diminish your value and nothing they say or do can ruin your day, week or life journey. Whatever obstacles they create for you today are the lessons that can help you grow and learn. Trusting these two things will make you bulletproof to bad behavior.
Imagine they're shooting poisoned arrows your way but your force field of trust and love protects you, and the arrows just bounce off. Make sure you leave the arrows on the ground and don't pick them up and hurt yourself with them. Sometimes we do this. We may keep thinking about and repeating the insult in our mind, ruminating on it again and again. We may hang on to these insults for days or even years. This is self-inflicted pain.
Let their toxic words and behaviors bounce off. Don’t let them have the power to destroy your peace. Choose to see everything that happens as here to serve you. Every experience can help you become stronger, wiser and more loving.
Choosing a mindset this mature, wise and loving will take commitment and practice. Your ego may resist because it prefers judging, gossip, anger, the moral high ground and holding grudges. Resist the urge to let your ego go takeover.
Being a forgiving person does not mean allowing others to mistreat us. It means we don’t let their mistreatment rob us of our peace.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is a master coach, author and corporate people skills trainer behind www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes.com. She is available for both individual coaching and corporate training.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.