Daniel Goleman, Peter Senge & Forgiveness



As I was working on my upcoming book “The Power Of Forgiveness and the Healing of Nations,” I was thinking about what Senge and Goleman has written about “The Triple Focus” skill set and how it applies to the healing of nations. They describe a new approach to education which focuses on a triple focus skill set, the “inner”, “other” and “outer.” I was very intrigued about this and began thinking how this can be applied to forgiveness especially in the healing of nations. This focuses on the inner healing of an individual,  the importance of relating to the “other,” in community and understanding the cause and effects of our behavior within the systems we operate in.

Within any forgiveness healing process we always have to focus within ourselves, our interior world to gain a greater understanding of who we are and why we feel the way we do. We have to know ourselves and heal those parts within ourselves which are causing pain. Once we have worked through those disturbing inner emotions we can move forward to the second skill, understanding the “other,” tuning into other people, or empathizing, being able to understand the psychological landscape of the “other” and not just coming from our own perspective.

This leads to the third skill or “outer” focus as described by Senge and Goleman. It involves a systems way of thinking which is the core of a political forgiveness process in the healing of nations. This skill set requires us to understand the way systems interact and effect one another. Sometimes these systems support structural violence which is so prevalent in the world today, and it can also support structures of peace which is the essence of a political forgiveness process.

It is important to understand systems and to use the knowledge gained to improve structures that will support peacebuilding. As Goleman and Senge have demonstrated there is an important synergy that happens between social and emotional learning which can be applied to the work of political forgiveness creating profound changes within a system. Once we realize the system, the cause and effects of our behavior we can use the insights gained to change our behavior supporting behaviors of forgiveness on a political level and creating a more peaceful world.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris