In the academic world, we are ending a year. Students are taking finals. Many will graduate. After commencement, faculty will take a well-earned vacation for a few weeks (or months.)
In this spirit of endings, I’d like to suggest something. Probably over the last few months, one of the following has happened to you:
- Someone broke a confidence.
- A friend hurt your feelings.
- You felt disrespected.
- You were left out.
- Someone snapped at you.
- Someone broke a promise to you.
- A friend or colleague was totally undependable.
Now look over the list and grant each of those people total and complete amnesty. Give each of them a fresh start with you. Let this be a new beginning.
Why? Montague Jocelyn King-Harmon (try saying that fast three times) wrote in 1917 that “we are quick to judge others by their acts, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.” If we look very carefully at our own behavior, we will very likely find several instances when we were the perpetrators of some of the acts on that list above. We probably didn’t intend to be hurtful, but we probably were.
So assume that the people who hurt you also did not mean to, and give everyone a second chance.
For the people I’ve offended this past year, it’s more like a hundredth chance. But I hope you will.