Last week Friday, Jasmine was urging all of us to “be prepared “this year. She especially mentioned us being prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.
I thought about the examples she mentioned and it occurred to me that sometimes we are not prepared for some of the “ugly” aftermath of having relationships.
As long as we are dealing with people, be it with our spouses, partners, friends, work colleagues or even neighbours, we all need to be prepared for times when there would be disappointments, disagreements, offences and betrayals. Irrespective of the fact that these are not always deliberate, the pain felt can be real and can irreversibly damage a relationship.
How prepared are we for the times that will not go well this year knowing like a wise person commented “to err is human, to forgive is divine”.
Before we get to that bridge, we must decide what we will do, so that we will be using our head rather than our feelings and acting with a proper response rather than just reacting. Incidentally, the closer people are to us, the more hurt we can be by some of their actions as we expect that they should know better.
If you are like me, I am not always very good at calling out (getting better now) and usually would give excuses for people because I do not want to go down the confronting pathway but there are sometimes this is unavoidable.
Some years ago, I got into that situation with a friend where I knew things could not just be swept under the carpet. We had to talk about it. I did check with a few other trusted friends who advised that I was not overreacting and the healthy thing to do was to bring it to her attention and clear the air.
I was not too pleased to do this but I knew it had to be done. Perhaps what I was not prepared for was the defensiveness with which she spoke and I am not kidding, it had been ages I heard someone speak to me in such a patronizing manner. I felt so pained but I had a choice. I could either insist she admits to her wrong before we can continue with the friendship or I leave her with the responsibility of her own actions.I had already communicated my displeasure over what happened. The issue I had to deal with was how important was it for me to be right or perhaps how important was it for her to acknowledge I was right and I am sure a lot of you can relate to this quite perfectly. If she decided she was not at fault and turned it back on me (playing the victim game-which was what happened), then that was entirely her issue.
I had to weigh between “being acknowledged as right” and the friendship. She clearly was either too ashamed or too proud to admit she was wrong and had taken the defensive position. Her actions were wrong but she was not wrong. She is a friend, my friend.
If I was truly a friend, then I had to make allowances knowing that some of the friendships I enjoy have been sustained because love and forgiveness were in action and not because I was perfect.
And what good is a friendship if love cannot be exercised to forgive.? So, I made a decision.
It was a decision beyond my feelings to let go and move on. I was still hurt but experience had taught me that my heart will eventually follow my head. The first few times we talked after the incidence felt strained but after sometime, my feelings caught up with my head. We are still friends today.
You see, this year we must be prepared for times when we will be hurt or will hurt others. Sometimes, we would do this unconsciously and might be fortunate to have our friends calling our attention to it. When that happens, rather than going into a defence mode, let us respond appropriately. And when we are the offended, let us be ready to forgive freely as sometimes our refusal to do so may just be pride.
Not every friend will respond well and not every relationship will remain the same after some offences but this year, let us do the healthy thing for our relationships. Offences will come, so be prepared.