People will let you down. That doesn’t make them horrible, haters, or Satan’s spawn; it makes them human. And it will hurt you when they do because you are not made of kryptonite. No matter how much we project having it together and never letting anything get to us, things DO get to us because we are human. And, regardless of all our sacrifices to be the consistent, reliable, “go to” person in our circle, we too will let down people.
When the inevitable happens, I have learned, it is best to deal with it and the fallout heart and head on. We are encouraged to “talk it out”. I say “listen out”. Listen more – talk less. Don’t just wait for the other person to shut up but listen to what is actually said. Listen for how it is said and listen for what is not said. Sometimes you can understand a person and his perspective better by what he holds back. Everything is not intentional. Life gets in the way with all of us.
Be realistic about expectations for others and yourself. People have their own issues to deal with and your issue may not be their issue at the time you need it to be. So what do you do, without knowing the circumstances entirely, you banish them to Serbia for not making your life their life. Have you tried to understand their why about the what? How about your why – why have you reacted so strongly about the what??? Listen to your internal dialogue as intently as the external communication.
While we are on internal, does your inside voice manifests in your actions? Have you put up a wall? You do know that walls can protect and prevent – right. Do you project that you don’t need anybody but you are hurt when no one is there? You keep people at bay and then pull away farther when they don’t behave according to your unspoken rules of conduct. Maybe I am the only one who did that.
When you have both your internal and external conversations, if an apology is warranted or unwarranted but will move the needle toward reconciliation, by all means offer a sincere one. When I first embarked on my path of enlightenment, I engaged a friend in a heartfelt discussion about how her actions affected me, which consequently drove me to react defensively. I apologized profusely for my reaction hurt her feelings. My friend, however, was steadfast in her position – she was so injured by my comments, she cried. I continued to offer earnest apologies. After hours of reviewing the point of contention, my friend finally conceded she “could see how my comments might have made you think ,,,” that was the closest she would come to owning her actions and apologizing without apologizing. It wasn’t until we ended our talk and I spent a nanosecond feeling good about listening and resolving our issue instead of shutting down that I realized how one-sided the mea culpa was. I thought wait a minute, she never said sorry to me for hurting me feelings in the first place, which led to my reaction that hurt her feelings. I apologized for everything including global warming, but it was as if she vowed to never say “my bad”.
Just when I was starting to sing Kumbaya, I replayed the conversation and listened to what was said and unsaid, and my little bubble burst. I did not need my friend to “see how…she might”; I needed her to own that she did. I did not want to nurture a relationship with someone who did not accept responsibility for her actions. I tell you all this because it is important to understand that despite your best, genuine efforts; there may not be a happy ending to every misunderstanding. You can only play your part truthfully and organically. It takes two to tangle. The other party(ies) may have a backstory beyond your grasp. There could be issues with she or he that have absolutely nothing to do with you. She is not a bad person. I think she has many good qualities. Still, you do your best so you can rest assured in your honesty and good intentions. If you only get back to cordiality, civility, and an occasional conversation at a cocktail party, that’s better than a cold war. At the end of the day you cannot manage the action of others; you can only control your reaction. Resting in your authenticity and wishing the aggrieved well is best for all parties.
What does not nourish your soul – nullifies it.