It eventually happens, and when it does, it can be difficult to reconcile the loss. For artists and creatives, there may be no worse feeling than being cheated, maligned, or misrepresented—and losing control of a business interest or having their personal brand injured in the process. When the occasion occurs, it can easily result in a need for reactive, retaliatory actions to demonstrate strength and power--particularly in an industry, creative or entertainment, that does not instill or thrive on compassion, but thrives on offensive measures. In the case of personal or professional betrayal, what can an artist do to protect themselves and their creative interests in business without appearing or becoming weak or passive?
The idea of exercising mercy in creative and business dealings may, at first mention, run counter to an artist’s best interests and positioning of power, suggesting a posture of impotence and inaction, however, the practice can prove largely informative in understanding the motives behind antagonistic actions through an objective lens of empathy—while identifying previously unprotected areas of value, personally and professionally, that require boundaries. Through objectivity and empathy, mercy is preventive towards overshooting the target in efforts made to obtain justice and closure—particularly in the case of miscommunication, where benefit of the doubt becomes necessary in reaching a resolution. Mercy also serves towards a reminder of the power of choice, through proactive action taken in the midst of conflict, as well as the power of forgiveness, in freedom from the stagnating effects of resentment or regret—while cultivating wisdom and discernment towards business relationships on the horizon.
Christ highlighted the cyclical value of mercy in relationships during the well-known Sermon on the Mount, in which he cited the blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven in the form of the Beatitudes. Of all the Beatitudes, the exercise of mercy is the only one that is reciprocal in nature, resulting in a direct deposit in kind from the Creator:
“Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!”
Mercy is reciprocal and sustainable when sourced through a higher level of compassion and insight that exists as a conduit of absolution and justice in human relationships. The practice of mercy is also instrumental for artists in coming into an understanding and acceptance with the mistakes and self-destructive acts of the past. That same compassion for self can be used to inform an artist’s work, permeating creative language through individual expressions of self-love and self-awareness. Mercy provides the confidence and courage to return and mend areas of self-sabotage, self-harm and neglect, providing the firmament for personal and professional growth and evolution.
Mercy is a key element in achieving conflict resolution throughout an artist’s career and is an effective tool towards the development of sharpened interpersonal skills, increased business acumen and knowledge and individual character.