Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Forgiveness is the Attribute of the Strong.

You know Tyson Beckford? The "ridiculously good-looking" male model? I saw him cry on Oprah a few years ago. He was in a really bad hit-and-run and almost died. His car exploded, it was crazy. The crying I can understand, but one thing stuck with me. He was crying and asking, "What did I do to deserve this? Why did he do this to me?" and I just thought it was absurd. Silly model, he didn't target you. The truck driver wasn't trying to kill you. It was an accident.

Do you ever feel like you've been hit by a car?

I'm not great with conflicts. I just don't understand them most of the time because I'm not one to get upset or angry easily. I'm quick to forgive and have given more than a few people ten more chances than any sane person would have. When someone does something that upsets or hurts me, I usually never mention it. I just get over it on my own or I take a few moments of distance. I'm not passive-aggressive, though I really enjoyed Chelsea's take on that. I just don't like fighting and most of the time never see a need to do it.

I think in the past year or so I've changed in some ways. It's been almost exactly a year since my sweet grandfather passed, and I know that the experience impacted me in major ways. One change I've noticed is that...I don't even know how to put this. I tolerate less. I think that's it. I put my foot down every once in awhile even in small ways that maybe only I'm aware of. My mom got drunk last summer and told me that the reason I've always been picked on by other people is that I'm a runt. She meant it to be funny, but she's right. And I don't want to be a runt anymore.

Every time I have a conflict with anyone, I obsess about it. I overanalyze it. I try to do whatever it takes to alleviate the problem. I apologize or I allow people to explain themselves. Often both. But sometimes people don't want to work through something. That's the part I don't understand. Sometimes they just want to be mad or they want to take something small and make it mean everything.

And I guess that for them, that's what they feel they have to do. Every person has issues and problems, and none of us deal with them in the right, healthy way every time they surface. Sometimes we're all casualties on someone else's road. Sometimes it doesn't mean anything, sometimes it wasn't your fault, sometimes it wasn't about you at all. Sometimes you just get hit. Sometimes you're a mistake someone made.

I think that helps me obsess less. People move in and out of our lives for a reason, and maybe that reason is met in the mistakes or the leaving.

This weekend I'm going to spend time with someone I've had a lot of conflicts with in the past oh, 30 years. But I love her. And I want us to be close and I want us to be good friends. More than ever before, I've stood up to her in the past year. I tolerate less. But that doesn't mean that I've hardened or become unforgiving. I think unforgiving is one of the saddest faults a person can have because in the end, it means you end up with less love in your life and maybe you even end up alone. Though I approach it now with more open eyes, I'm still willing to give everyone ten more chances than any sane person would. Well...maybe nine.

"Though no one can ever go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard

* A little follow-up...I just read an article on the NY Times website about guilt and atonement. It's a short article and was very interesting. Maybe the reason I obsess so much when there's a conflict in a relationship is that I have high guilt and maybe even high effortful control. Actually I'd say that my feeling of having high effortful control contributes to my high guilt because I think I tried as hard as possible not to cause any conflict and so I feel twice as guilty and bad when there is a conflict that feels out of my control. Interesting psychoanalysis, eh? Check it out here.


mushashii said...

"But sometimes people don't want to work through something. That's the part I don't understand." I can totally relate to this... when we forgive people we expect them to want to work things through, or to at least try to explain. but sadly, sometimes, there's nothing to explain... sometimes,i fear that i was that big mistake in someone made. and it's not easy to shake that feeling off.

i hope everything turns out well for you this weekend. (((hugs)))

Elizabeth R said...

Go girl! I agree that putting your foot down while also forgiving others is a wonderful way to be. That way you can confidently move past conflict rather than let it bring you down. Good luck on your journey!

Carolina Girl said...

Good article. I obsess about conflict too. Just this morning, I had a conflict with a coworker. I was soo angry, but didn't want to talk to her about it. Plus I obsessed that maybe she was right and I was wrong. I overanalyze to death.

Hope the weekend went well!

Carolyn said...

When my dad passed away I went through the exact same transition.
I never grew up with a father figure to show me what real love was.
I never saw my mother and father in love, so I didn't really know what to expect out of a relationship. Out of a "man".
I gave, gave, GAVE, until I was sick of giving...yet was still pissed off when the reciprocity wasn't there.
I was a doormat. For lack of a better term. Or a runt. However you want to call it.
I leaned on that cructh for years...25 years exactly...then when he passed away I felt it was the perfect time to get rid of that useless, debilitating crutch (read: excuse).
Its an awesome feeling when you can expect things and actually get them in your life. From friends and from men. Tolerating less often times means getting more and receiving reciprocity in your investments.

Good for you. I'm proud of you!

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