Powerful Distinction Coaching Tip: Acceptance vs. Forgiveness

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At Lucid Living, we love to make distinctions. We find that the right distinction can have a profound impact on the client’s perspective, eliminating confusion and empowering new choices. Distinctions are necessary when clients combine two similar, but distinct, concepts into one definition.

We’ll post a new Powerful Distinction each month. We hope you’ll find these to be useful in your work as a coach.

So, we begin this series of Powerful Distinctions with: Acceptance vs. Forgiveness.

Here’s a scenario: Your client is upset. Perhaps she did something she was not proud of. Or maybe she is feeling hurt by someone else’s actions. Either way, she is eager to move ahead and “put the incident behind her,” but does not want to feel much about the experience. She says she “accepts it,” but she’s still feeling bothered by it. This kind of acceptance is not the same as true forgiveness. It is a mental band-aid that seeks to get past it without taking emotional ownership.

Forgiveness is a healing, transformative experience that involves feeling. As the coach, your role is to slow the process down so that your client can do the deeper work of feeling the impact (on herself or the other person), so she can forgive and ultimately create change in her life.

Acceptance sounds like this: “Gosh, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Oh well, it is what it is. Let’s move on.” Or it can sound like, “Oh, he didn’t mean to hurt me. Let’s drop it.” This kind of acceptance is a passive response.

Forgiveness sounds more like: “Wow, I am genuinely sorry I did that. I can understand why I did that and choose to forgive myself for my mistakes.” Or, “Ouch, your impact really hurts. I will stay with this emotion and really let myself feel it. And I can forgive you because I understand why it happened.” Forgiveness is a powerful place from which to make a change.

Working with your client on true forgiveness can awaken her awareness about what she is creating in her life. She can start opening up to becoming more conscious of what she is manifesting. Such a compelling stance to live from!

Coaching Tip: Notice where you allow your client to “get away with” acceptance, when forgiveness would actually be the more powerful direction to go.

Let us know how this is showing up in your work!

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