In the last post we talked about being kind instead of being right. Using an example from my own life, I showed that it’s possible for both parties to be “right”. Seeing the situation from the other’s perspective can help us understand when we might not have a monopoly on being right.
Today we’re going to take it a step further. Today I will suggest that you start to take responsibility for your part in whatever must be forgiven.
Hey, don’t run away yet. This isn’t about ‘blame’.
Remember how I talked about arriving from the airport? I was tired and overwhelmed and cranky.
Kindness was the last thing on my mind and, honestly, I’m not even sure what I wanted beyond “leave me alone”.
It’s not so much that I was in the wrong or that there was something for which I needed to take the blame, but I certainly had a role to play in the fight that followed.
Situations are often more complicated that “He’s right and she’s wrong”.
Sometimes, yes, it is that cut and dry. There are going to be times in your life when an attack is completely unprovoked and unwarranted. Please do not try to apply this advice to those situations!
But usually there are two people involved who both have contributed to the mess that they find themselves in.
When we stop insisting on being right all the time, it becomes easier to see that.
When you’re struggling with forgiveness, think about what happened and what your involvement was. Is there something you could have done differently to have avoided what happened?
If there is, take responsibility for it.
If you can’t find anything, at least open yourself up to the possibility that maybe you did something wrong unintentionally or that something you said or did was misunderstood.
When we see our role in what happened, no matter how small, we need to do something that we talked about in an earlier post. We must forgive ourselves. Once we do that, we have taken a huge step towards being able to forgive the other person.
Forgiving yourself isn’t easy.
But then again, neither is admitting that you might be partially at fault for what happened. We usually do it grudgingly.
It feels much more satisfying – in the short term – to be the innocent victim. But in the long term, admitting your role in the matter, whatever it was, and forgiving yourself, makes you a stronger person and a more credible one.
And, as I said, once you forgive yourself, it becomes easier to forgive others.
Doing this also makes it possible for the other person to accept your forgiveness, resolve the issue and move on. That’s good for both of you.
In the last post we talked a lot about how we don’t like to be wrong. When we can see that we’re not the only ones who are wrong, it becomes easier to admit and accept our mistakes. We all misunderstand others, and say or do things that are misunderstood, just as we all cause hurt and pain unintentionally. All of us. When we let go of our egos, we can accept our own mistakes and acknowledge our own responsibility.
The end result is a better resolution of the conflict and a stronger relationship.
You will not always be at fault, of course, even slightly!
But even if you are completely confident that you’re not, it’s worthwhile examining your role in the conflict.
When you can honestly see what you did to cause, or aggravate, the problem, your character will be strengthened, as will the faith and trust that others have in you. Wouldn’t you rather honestly look at the situation, acknowledge the role that you may have played, and understand what you can do differently in a future situation?
Taking responsibility is a good feeling. It makes us feel in control of our lives, and lets us live happier without that nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, we were at least partially at fault.
Keep this in mind as you journey toward forgiveness!