The story below, from an author unknown, is indeed a very strong message but I want to point out the other side of the fence. While you might have seen it before, it is worth reading again.
Nails in the fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.
Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.
When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”
Causing pain and Reflecting
Causing pain to others is one problem but causing pain to ourselves is another story and much more painful.
Don’t just brush off the pain you caused with excuses like “I was angry”, “I’m only human”, “There is no place for cry-babies or softness in modern times”, “It wasn’t my fault”, etc.
Taking responsibility could make all the difference for you and for those you have hurt but it still isn’t enough, there is something else you must do.
Forgiving or forgetting
Forgiving is learning to stop being angry and harboring resentment towards someone who had wronged us, whereas forgetting is when we determine to repress what happened and move on.
Forgiving is the process of healing, whereas forgetting is a process of repressing one’s emotions. Forgiveness changes the route and allows you to move forward.
The other side of the fence
If we consider the story of the fence and look at the side of the fence that is opposite the side where the boy hammered the nails, we might find that the nails didn’t go all the way through. And in that case, we will be able to look at the “clean” side of the fence — making it easier to forgive.
The first step is to turn the fence and the second is to forgive.
The second person you must forgive is the one you have hurt but before you can do it successfully, the first person you must forgive is yourself.
Avoid the nails
The goal is not to have to view the backside of the fence, but instead to avoid the nails from the very beginning.
Our new modern world is a great stage where we can act under a mask and incognito, hurting others with our words and judging them harshly with total disregard to the pain we may be causing.
Reflecting before you knock the next nail in is what is needed to create a new fence without holes in either side.
A grudge can result in a lost legal battle
“A grudge is a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.”
The connection between our story and a legal case is the approach – how you request that we handle your case in a courtroom or when negotiating outside the courtroom.
If you are looking for revenge and insist on holding a grudge, or are allowing your emotions to lead you, very soon you will find yourself out of control, losing the case.
Do not let your emotions make your decisions – don’t hold a grudge. Learn to forgive and be in control of your emotions and make rational decisions.