Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just Another Can of Worms

Every time I find myself needing to forgive someone it's that much harder than the time before.  Why is this so?  Is it the next step on the ladder that I've been climbing all my life.  Well, I'd like to go back a rung or two and see how I would do if I had to do the easier ones again.  This one's tough!

There has been a situation that I was feeling badly about.  I knew I had to speak with the person I was involved in the situation with, so I could find some resolution.  Instead of talking face to face or even on the phone, the opportunity came to chat online.  As I look back, I wish I had taken a different mode of communication, but alas, what's done is done.  To be honest, at this point, I'm not sure if it would have made any difference.

Since I've known this person for nigh on twenty years, I thought the feelings behind my words and that I meant no harm would be understood.  Knowing that this person is rather volatile, I thought I was choosing my words with great care, but within two sentences of our chat, it was clear that I had not chosen them carefully enough.  I had come across all wrong, and the words that came back to me soon became angry and resentful.  It was clear that I had come across as mean and ungrateful.  So NOT my intention.  Ugh!  What to do?  I quickly apologized and backed out of the conversation.

I finally ended up getting in touch with the person's spouse on the phone and ironing things out.  I felt much better.  Until I opened my email a few minutes later.

Q was sitting next to me, and I opened an email that called me more ugly things than I think I've ever been called in my life...combined.  Woah!  That was totally unexpected!  I read two sentences, realized that Q was reading too, and quickly closed it and threw it in the trash.  I didn't know I had come across that badly.  In the email, I was asked to reread our chat, it was lovingly attached to the email, and I was to reanalyze how I had come across.  As I reread, I realized that had that person really been my friend and come from it from the angle that I care and didn't want there to be a problem, there would have been no wrong interpretation, but coming from the other side of that coin, my words could have come across as rude and ungrateful.  I was sad to know that they were being read by someone who didn't know me at all.

I wrote back one short email stating that I was sorry I had come across that way.

After Q was out of the room, I opened it again.  I wish I hadn't.  It flavored the way I feel about this person and caused me to think that this person has had these feelings building up for awhile.  Wow!  Did I open a can of worms!  Funny because I've never felt any of that in return.

I feel sad that it was expected that I was trying to be "mean."  There was no benefit of the doubt.  There was no trying to figure out the feeling behind the words--just an immediate judgment that that's what I was out to do.  When, in reality, I meant nothing of the sort.  I learned a few years back that we think that others see life through the same eyes we do.  We know no other lens, so we assume that everyone we come in contact with interprets life as we do.  SAD!  On both our parts--I was equally to blame for this.  From my lens, I like to assume that no one's out to "get me," but that others mean well and only have everyone's best interest at heart.

This is a person who is continually saying, "Don't judge me."  Funny thing is, when the email was again tossed in the trash, that's all I felt--judged.  I don't think I feel that way very often.

You know, it's funny, my first inclination is to not want to talk to this person again. I want to punish and withhold my love, but inside I know that's not the right thing to do.  I'm pretty sure that no matter how I had confronted this person in regard to the initial problem, it would have been taken as an attack.

I need to add another element to this story.  A number of weeks ago, I was contacted by this person, and we spoke very candidly about a number of things.  Because of this conversation, I felt that I could really address any subject and trust and be trusted.  Shortly after this, I was made aware that the most private part of what I had shared had been shared with someone we both know mutually.  UGH!!!  You must know, I'm not one who trusts very many people and this, to me, was a HUGE breech of trust.

The reason I address this now is that I'm trying to wrap my brain and heart around how best to forgive and move on.  This person has proven to me that there is no friendship there.  I need to reassess how to deal with this person especially since we will be seeing each other this weekend, and it is unavoidable.  If I could, I'd give myself a little more time to really be able to forgive and figure out where I fit.

I'm writing this here because I can't speak to this person and trust that I'll be understood for what I mean.  I would probably just make things worse, and that's a terrible feeling.  I feel a little trapped.

I have no problem being courteous.  I will be myself because I realize that it was never my intention to hurt and be rude, and I have apologized for what I felt I could.  This is not a person I cannot avoid forever.  I know over time things will improve.  There will never be trust there again, but is that part of truly forgiving someone too?  Am I withholding true forgiveness by not burying everything and moving on?  Can I really love someone if I don't trust that person?  I'd love some input, so I can work this out soon.


Anonymous said...

ok Julie.
I have BEEEEN in situations like this!!!!! i know Exactly What You are Going Through!!!!
what i learned {the hard way} is to let it go. dont bring it up to her again... or to her spouse... or anyone else for that matter. of course your hubby doesnt count... cuz if you gotta talk then he's the one to talk to. :)

Now... you gotta just forgive in your heart and move on. Dont think about that situation. Time heals all. Especially when you have apologized sincerely to that person. And instead of assuming that she is still mad at you.. why now assume that she forgives you and loves you. Treat her as if she DOES LOVE AND FORGIVE YOU! There is no harm in that :) That is what I have dont in the past when i have been faced with things like this.
And Dont Feel like you have failed or she has "won" because you took the road of happiness and decided to NOT hold a grudge. If SHE decides to hold a grudge... that truly IS her problem.
BUTTTTT... you dont know what it in her heart... MAYBE just MAYBE she HAS forgiven you. And that is what you need to convince yourself of.

No Matter WHAT she says to you... Tell yourself that you care about her and that she TRULY does care about you.... even if her words and actions dont look like she does.

Life is MUCH BETTER and LESSS STRESSFUL when we think positive. And since we as humans tend to Assume too many things... let's use that natural impulse and make our assumptions Positive ones. :)

That is TRULY what i do and have learned to do. I have taken the other roads and held grudges and stuff .... but it just made ME UNHAPPIER. I can NOT be happy knowing that i have hard feelings toward someone. and i think you and i have that in common.

We need peace in our hearts in order to be happy. so. since you DID apologize.... then its over. Period.
Dont apologize to her again... because that will just stir up feelings.
Don go bake cookies for her... that will stir up feelings too.

in the past, i ahve done things like that because it DROVE ME NUTS thinking that someone was MAD at me!!! so i went totally overboard trying to make things up to this person and it just made it WORSE than everrrr!!!!

So. Let it go. Assume that she loves you. and MAKE YOURSELF BELIEVE IT. there is no harm in that. :)

That's my advice. :) Hope it helps :)

Anonymous said...

ignore alllll of my typos :)

Alyson said...

I'm actually a very forgiving sort, and rarely if ever take offense. But there was this huge blow-up with a couple in our ward with whom we had formerly been very, very close and friendly. It ended in us not speaking to each other. For about five years. The wife of the other couple would never look my husband in the eye, would not even shake his hand. (And IMO, it was she who did him wrong!)

Five years later, believe it or not, all is well. We will never be close friends again, but we can talk and laugh and socialize. It simply blew over. I don't think we'll ever just sit down, the four of us, and talk about personal things. But being in a group and being friendly seems like very acceptable progress.

So...good luck? I think you learned a very, very important lesson about this person. And IMO, I believe you should not speak to her again for a while, and not about personal things again ever. This is not holding a grudge, this is protecting yourself against something which is a known risk. Eventually (I know you!) you'll forgive her and your Christlike feelings for her will return. But you don't have to put your emotions or your information at risk by putting yourself in that same position again. You've learned a lesson, to love her in a Christlike way from afar. :) *Hug*

Anonymous said...

I'm late in responding. Boyd K. Packer: If you have a festering grudge, if you are involved in an acrimonious dispute, “Behold what the scripture says [and it says it fifty times and more]—man shall not smite, neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and vengeance is mine also, and I will repay” (Morm. 8:20). I say therefore, “John, leave it alone. Mary, leave it alone.” If you need a transfusion of spiritual strength, then just ask for it. We call that prayer. Prayer is powerful spiritual medicine. The instructions for its use are found in the scriptures. Some frustrations we must endure without really solving the problem. Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because we cannot control them. Things we cannot solve, we must survive. If you resent someone for something he has done—or failed to do—forget it. Too often the things we carry are petty, even stupid. If you are still upset after all these years because Aunt Clara didn’t come to your wedding reception, why don’t you grow up and forget it? If you brood constantly over a loss or a past mistake, look ahead—settle it. We call that forgiveness. Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself! I repeat, “John, leave it alone. Mary, leave it alone.” Purge and cleanse and soothe your soul and your heart and your mind and that of others. A cloud will then be lifted, a beam cast from your eye. There will come that peace which surpasseth understanding. The Lord said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27) (“Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov 1987)

I had an experience recently that blasted me. Even though it was misconstrued and the perspective taken by an individual incorrect, I asked myself time and time again. She is a daughter of God. God loves her as he loves me. Can I love her and get over this, even though it was she who was being critical and not sustaining leadership, not showing love, not doing ....

An amazing thing happened. It got worse. :) But, I pleaded with the Lord!! I want nothing on my conscience that I didn't try to make it right. Try to love her past her HUGE issue. I served her as best I knew how in two direct ways even after her last attack... A softening began to happen. My heart is light. I feel God's love and I know I've forgiven her despite her spite toward me (probably still). She left town and has caused a huge scene...she may not be returning because she is out of state with loved ones and away from 'her world' she is in a place where she can call me what she will and she is loved and supported. I do not worry however, because I know that I tried. I know she knows I tried. That is all God requires is that we go the distance we can to correct and then we have to lay it at his feet. You cannot go wrong laying it at the Lord's feet and praying for your enemies, loving those who despitefully use you...Joseph and Jesus Christ...have trod this thou greater than they? How did they treat those who hated them? Love, sister! It heals the wounded soul, even if they do not.

Carol said...

We LOVE you Julie! We think only the very best things about you, so don't let someone else make you feel bad. (If you want me to come and take out someone's knees, just let me know!)

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