"If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness. If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them. And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that. For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself."
I realize more and more that often when I am upset with another person, it’s not really about them or their behavior. It’s about the fact that something they said or did unintentionally hit on a wounded area inside of me. Those wounded, unhealed areas within my heart and soul are like landmines. I’m often not aware that they still exist until something happens or someone says something that sets off an explosion inside me.
That explosion is all about me, however, and the areas within me that I need to face, surrender to my Higher Power, and work at healing. The explosions are never really about the person who triggered the landmine. More often than not, there was no malicious attempt on their behalf to hurt me. They don’t even know I’m exploding with pain inside unless I tell them.
Of course the same is true when I accidentally say or do something that sets off a landmine inside of a friend or loved one. If I feel them resisting or pushing me away, it’s because my words or behavior have accidentally triggered an unhealed place deep inside of them. Their reaction isn’t really about me, it’s about them and the fact that they still have issues to face.
In other words, their behavior is not about me and my behavior is not about them. It’s all about the unhealed past, the unhealed wounds inside each of us. And it’s important to understand this fact. As long as we both understand it’s about our own brokenness, we can own that brokenness without blaming each other. And as long as we can look inside each other and better understand each other’s brokenness, we can build a strong relationship, despite our individual problems.
Too often in relationships we unknowingly hurt each other and we need to be aware of this and willing to forgive each other. We are all simply doing the best we can. So I pledge today to refuse to take a friend’s words or behavior personally, or to allow them to push me away because they are reacting to some dark place inside of themselves. I will accept their brokenness and act with understanding and love.
Can you make the same pledge with those you are about?