There are times when you need to be letting go of anger, when you need to let go of the necessity of being right. It can take courage to be silent but then you can look yourself in the eye and not flinch.
Some years ago I ran a company along with a business partner. He had founded the company years before and he was proud of what he had achieved.
I put money into the company and trusted what he told me. I did not look too deep because I was proud of what the company did and flattered to be asked to join as a director.
He went off to form a sister company abroad and I was left in charge. This was something I had always wanted, to run my own company, to be the boss.
The company struggled and cash flow fell through the floor. We had obligations to the bank and to others, not least the staff. I came to realise we were insolvent.
“It’s a little too late, I’m a little too gone, a little too tired of this hangin’ on, so I’m letting go while I’m still strong.”
I took action and, after taking advice, had a close look at the books. Once the dead wood had been cleared out, we were clearly insolvent, we could not continue without fresh funds. I put some money in, but no-one else did.
The ball started rolling and the bank took action. We disappeared, albeit slowly.
My partner pulled away and blamed me for what happened. He would not accept that the company had been trading insolently, in practice, for years. I should not have taken action, I should have struggled on, I should have closed my eyes.
The exchanges became bitter and an old friendship disappeared. The founder had been a good friend, we had enjoyed meals and wine together – that disappeared.
Letting Go Of Anger
Some years later we had moved on, I had a new practice, and we were brought together in voluntary work for our profession. The bitterness and lies were still there.
I missed the friendship, I missed the times together. I took a deep breath and let my anger go. I decided that being right meant nothing, it was not about that.
I suggested we let the past go and leave it be. We would not discuss it again between ourselves or in public. Honour was served on both sides, friendship returned.
Now, many years later, he is telling me about how he has left the business he went away to set up. His partner, and now boss, will not accept that they are insolvent.
I smile to myself, thinking back, and wonder if he sees the irony – probably not.
But I don’t mind, I prefer the friendship to making points or being right. I prefer to be a man who takes care of his friends, no matter what they do in return.
It is too easy to hang on to what is right, forgetting that you only see one side of the issue.
As a man you have the power to step outside the immediate situation and see the truth. We are all connected, and nothing matters more than how you treat and think of others.
Let me know in the comments about a time when letting go of anger saved a friendship.
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My book, 'Journey to the Core of the Masculine', takes the issues that concern men further and provides a means of growing beyond them.