Forgiveness is the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell. Forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the present. Forgiveness means that even though you are wounded, you choose to hurt and suffer less. Forgiveness means you become part of the solution. Forgiveness is the understanding that hurt is a normal part of life. Forgiveness is for you and for no one else. You can forgive and rejoin a relationship, or forgive and never speak to the person again.
While we could go infinitely deeper into the specifics of forgiveness (and likely will in the future), the key takeaway from the definition of forgiveness we’re choosing to use is that it allows us to center ourselves as the hero of our own stories, giving us the power to handle difficult discussions with family in a productive, emotionally healthy manner.
Integrating the Family Forgiveness Ritual™
To start, before the Family Forgiveness Ritual™ is even discussed, individual one-on-one sessions with each family member are held in order to assess the nature of the family’s conflicts as well as each member’s readiness to engage in the healing process. From here, the family comes together in a Family Business Planning Meeting, and it is in these early family meetings that the Family Forgiveness Ritual™ is first introduced. While the concept may be floated in these initial meetings, the details are typically worked out in individual sessions where each family member can discuss their own views on forgiveness as well as their reservations about the process of the forgiveness ritual. We integrate the Family Forgiveness Ritual™ into the Family Business Consultation program because the latter allows for all family members to be given support and encouragement throughout the ritual process, which is hugely important to ensure that everyone is coming together in good faith and with their emotional needs being accounted for. The Family Forgiveness Ritual™ itself is typically performed at the end of the process as a way of summarizing the family’s journey and growth experience, solidifying the family’s accomplishments throughout the process, and ritualizing the process so it can go forward as an element of the family’s traditions and heritage.
The Family Forgiveness Ritual™ may be the capstone of the family consultation process, but we hope we’ve shown that it’s far from the only element. For the Family Forgiveness Ritual™ to succeed, it needs to be approached with a clear understanding of what forgiveness means and performed within a framework of healthy discussion and individual counseling. For more on forgiveness in family businesses, look into The Soul of the Family Business by Tom Hubler. Through personal anecdotes, real-world case studies, useful tools and frameworks, and more, Hubler offers an in-depth look at how the forgiveness process works with working families. For all of this, pick up The Soul of the Family Business, available in hardcover form on Amazon.com, directly through Itasca Books, or at a bookstore near you. And of course, you can always contact Hubler for Business Families today to set up a free orientation meeting with Thomas Hubler, the expert on family business planning.