I was recently having a conversation with my mother about how we (people in general) tend to hang onto past frustrations or anger with others. We were discussing how there are always two sides to every situation and when we look back we can often see the part we played in assigning meaning where maybe there was none in a situation. We can only see through our own eyes and our biases are based on our own experiences. If we have experienced hurt from a situation in the past chances are we are going experience hurt in a similar situation whether it’s intended or not. If we’ve experienced someone lying in the past we will more than likely question their truthfulness in the future. It’s how we’re built, and it protects us to a degree. If we didn’t use our own experiences to grow we would make the same mistakes over and over. I don’t know about others, but when I learn lessons I don’t want to repeat them!
But sometimes we need to let go and forgive. We need to accept people for what they are, knowing their faults and not get caught up in them. We need to meet people where they are. This isn’t to say you should keep harmful people in your life. Quite the contrary. If there’s a poison in your life get rid of it if possible. But sometimes it isn’t possible. And sometimes the people we see as poisonous are more mild than we have created them in our mind. When we sit back and look objectively we can sometimes see that other people are simply doing the best they can. And we need to accept that. We can’t choose every person we work with or every family members or in-law. But we can choose how we respond to everyone. Maybe you don’t have a close relationship with a person who you’ve perceived has done you wrong or someone who irritates you, but you can be kind. You can always come from the place of loving-kindness and connect on a level that is suitable to the person. We always have that option. We don’t have to forget, but it will do us no good to hang on to anger and irritation. It will only damage us and the other person.
This is definitely one of my life lessons and I’m getting there – although there is still work to be done! I’m not perfect after all. But it’s a worthy lesson that I will continue to strive toward. Meet me where I am and I’ll meet you where you are.