What Is Your Story?

When a person misbehaves, we so often focus only on the misbehavior and we want it stopped—now. Yet, when someone misbehaves there may be so much more to it than the undesirable behavior. Consider Jane’s story. At work she was not being productive, becoming passive toward some of the co-workers, and becoming sharply critical of others. Her unjust behavior was becoming a disruption. The manager was considering firing her. Someone in the Human Relations office decided, instead, to simply ask her: What is the recent story of your life, Jane? She started to cry because, quite frankly, no one had asked her to that point. As it turns out, her partner recently left her, her mother was suffering from dementia, and her son had a drinking problem. These are not an excuse to hurt others at work. Yet, without knowing her story, who at work could offer help? Knowing the story, the Human Relations person began a systematic forgiveness program for her, focused first on the partner’s injustice. It all started, and all began to fall into place, with one simple question: What is your story, Jane? The next time someone is annoying you, you might want to ask a similar question.

Dr. Bob

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