How to forgive your parents and your incompetent boss

Sometimes we feel that our parents have wreck our lives because they are alcoholics, promiscuous, divorced, etc…..and cannot forgive them because (our story here-) ‘that is because of them that I am an alcoholic/cannot commit to any relationships’.

Using conventional psychology and Freudian to analyze the situation, we may have reasons to thank our parents for a number of the screw ups in our lives. That’s where conventional psychology is not that effective because they still point the cause to an external factor.

That is why I have known since I was in my teens that over reliance of conventional psychology will not work. Because the cause of the problem is always attributed to the environment, parents, teachers, etc….and so by doing that, the person develops the ‘victim’ or the ‘poor me’ syndrome.

The only way to get out of any problems in life is not to psychoanalyze and then point fingers at others. This may temporarily soothe our ego and sense of self-righteousness. It still does not solve the problem that our lives are screwed. We can continue feeling sorry for ourselves for as long as we shall live but it will not make things any better.

Learn to forgive- everyone makes mistakes, including us. Nobody’s perfect all the time. Don’t let our stubborn ego ruin our lives …when we stubbornly try to justify our lives by not talking to our parents, or even people who once meant something to us- children, mother, father, best friend, because that person had made a mistake that justifies eternal punishment is a bit far fetched.

Napoleon Hill mentioned in his book, “Positive Action Plan: 365 Meditations for Making Each Day a Success”:

If your childhood was less than perfect, you are in good company. Most of us have experienced difficulties at one time or another, and we all make mistakes from time to time. The good news is that while your environment as a child will have a profound influence upon the person you become, it is not the sole determinant. The person you choose to be is entirely up to you. Only you can decide who and what you will become in life.

When we forgive, we are not doing the other person a favor. We are doing ourselves a favor. The act of forgiving does not mean that we condone to their actions, but is that we have made peace and agree to let the past go. It is through forgiveness that we are able to move on in life….

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By not forgiving, we will surely be stuck. We will carry the burden, resentment and hurt like a heavy baggage in our hearts. We will fail to learn to deal and look at things at a better perspective. Things will not run smoothly in our lives because of the negative mental energy that we are carrying around with us that block us.

Let me share with you a real life story of how the inability to forgive prevents someone from moving ahead in life:

There is this guy I know who really hated his late father. He felt very angry and resentful of the shame and anger his father had caused him and his family. When his father died, he was not even sad at all.

But he grew up to be a very hard, stubborn and unyielding man. The sad thing is that, his career kept getting stuck because he kept reporting to bosses (males and females) who seemed to remind him of his father- someone in a position of authority (whom he had to depend on financially because the person signs his paycheck) but who he felt in his words, “are totally useless”.

Like the fact that he had no choice but to depend on a man he considered as totally useless and caused him shame when he was young, when he meet this type of bosses, it trigger the intense resentment.

For most of us, if we have bosses who are incompetent, we just close one eye and do our jobs. But it is unlikely that we will aggressively challenge the boss’s authority or by going against the boss’s instructions. Why? Because their behaviour do not trigger any seat anger that we have been harboring for years. But for that guy, it was exactly what he did- he repeatedly showed disrespect and tried to challenge his bosses.

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And the fact that if you work in incompetent bosses and try to challenge them, they will quickly manage you out or go all out to make your life miserable. Because for all you know, you could have stirred up some deep fear in them too that make them go all out to get you.

The universe has a strange way of keep bringing up the same situations again and again till you learn to stop running away and to deal with them. That is the only way to solve any long standing problem you have.

In the case of this guy, his career life will surely improve if he is willing to acknowledge and work on his own inner issues. If he doesn’t, he will continue to meet with bosses (or anyone in a position of authority) who is incompetent.  He should accept it that incompetent bosses, just like bad weather, are part of nature- they exist from time to time. So why challenge and get upset over factors that we have no control? Why not learn to control our reactions to these triggers instead?

If your boss is incompetent, chances are she knows it deep down inside. You need not do things to remind her of her incompetence. Because if you do, she will feel threatened that you will soon ‘expose’ her and she will spent a lot of time trying to gather and document all your little mistakes in order to built a case against you.  Then life at work will be stressful because you’ll constantly need to be on your guard, right? Is it worth it?

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It’s just not worth to mess with your ricebowl. The best way to deal with an incompetent boss is to try to be nice and make sure you keep her in the loop for whatever you are doing or ask her for her opinions. If her instructions are not workable, find a way to let her know gently or tactfully. Offer her some alternatives that may work instead of rolling your eyes or crossing your hands (watch the body language, my friend….it can hurt your career).

If she sticks with her silly suggestions after you have offered her better alternatives, go ahead….implement her silly ideas. If the idea blows up, she will have to be accountable for it, not you. So what’s the problem?

And when that happens, pleaaassssee avoid goading her by telling her “I told you so!” straight to her face or to another office gossiper (who will surely carry tales back to her).

When you work with her instead of against her, she will realise that you are an ally, not a threat. And being in the incompetent position that she is, she knows that she will need someone she can count on. Sure, this type of bosses may not be the type who will give you glowing referrals- but at least you can keep a happy medium while doing your moonlight gigs or applying for a better job outside.

Life will be much happier that way. By the way, in order not to take your work and your boss too personally or seriously, develop a great life outside work.  Then all office dramas and incompetent bosses will not get to you because there’s something truly worth while that you are working for.

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