When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.
Have you ever made an error that was genuinely small in the larger scheme of things and discovered that it permanently soured a business or personal relationship?
Do you remember those feelings of intense disappointment, frustration or anger at how everything else that you had done or been for them was instantly erased in the heat of a moment?
I think everyone has had moments like this… a feeling that no matter how hard you tried, no matter to what extent you were willing to venture, in the end, it did not amount to a hill of beans in the mind of the other party.
Conversely, can you remember when you did this to another person?
Those moments are considerably harder to remember. This may, in part, be due to the fact that we have never done this to another person, ever…. OR…. It may be due to the fact that it does not hurt us as much when we opt to behave in this manner when the tables are turned.
Exploring that thought for a moment… does this happen because we are callous, shallow human beings? Perhaps. Or… it may happen because we are quick to make judgments that have lasting permanence and which are just painful or hurtful to the other party, same as when it may have happened to you.
In seeing today’s aphorism, I reflected on some of the times this has happened to me and some of the times, I have behaved equally poorly in making a summary decision about a friendship with another. I do not think either perspective (victim or perpetrator) in my experiences is black or white. In the times I feel victimized, I reflect on how my action made the other party feel and recognize that I motivated their behavior. I may not like it that every good thing I did prior to that moment was instantly being discounted, but if I am honest, I must also own the action I took that gave them cause to feel that way.
Conversely, when I reflect on summary judgments I have made on other relationships that I have allowed to terminate, I must also reflect closely on the variables in their world that gave them cause to do whatever they did that made me wish to let that relationship end.
In both perspectives, the issue is neither black nor white, but in reality, a shade of grey in-between.
It would be easy to close this out with a summary about always taking the high road, always being forgiving, always looking beyond something to the greater picture, as those are all good conclusions. But sadly, life is not black or white, and sometimes those conclusions are insufficient. Sometimes, the reason they give you to let your relationship end is justifiable cause to sever ties immediately. Sometimes, after reflection, we may surmise that there are or were mitigating circumstances that gave way to this moment, and we might find some deeper compassion with which to view their behavior.
My take away from all of it is to take a deep pause before making any such decision, and most certainly, do not do it in the heat of the moment. Instead, might it not be better to find strength to compartmentalize such a feeling and allow it to just exist within us, across a span of at least a few days, so that we might contemplate such a monumental choice under a variety of frames of mind? If we allow some time and distance to pass, we are more likely to make our decision under wise counsel, even if such counsel is only our own mind. And, in the course of working to become more evolved ourselves, are we not wiser to find time to remember all of the qualities about someone or some entity that you are ready to jettison out of your life, in order that you may give them the same fair consideration that you would hope that they or someone else might extend you, were the tables turned?