Friday, May 15, 2009

Forgive thats fine but forget??

A colleague asked me yesterday “Suppose you meet a friend from 20 years ago, and they had hurt you by their behavior then. Would you bring it up or let it go?”

My first thought was to tell her to let it go, its been 20 years after all. But then I really got to thinking, It had been "20 years", and she was still hurting, shouldn’t she get it out of her system. We can easily accept an apology but the pain heals very slowly and sometimes never at all. I finally told my friend to bring it up and get it off her heart. If she voiced it loud, she would feel better I hoped. My sister said to me once “If I keep quiet it’s my headache, but if I talk it becomes the other persons headache”. Selfish maybe, but self preservation is the key here.

But even though I preached this to my colleague, I never practice it. I still have some unforgotten business with a couple of people. Notice I said forgotten and not forgiven. I know people use these words interchangeably. But think about it, its easy to accept an apology, logically work out why the person hurt you and forgive. But to forget is something all together different. For me memories are tinged with emotional content. And any relationship is a sum total of your memories of that person interspersed with your own feelings towards them. So if these memories take on a bitter taste it’s hard to move past that into a pleasant relationship. Its only when these bitter memories are replaced by sweeter and more pleasant ones does the relationship actually move forward. To actually get past that memory is crux of an issue. And to that end both parties have to be willing to trust each other with their emotions again.

There are few friends who I have had hard times with. But I prefer the ones who tell me what they think I am doing wrong immediately. That way the emotion that shadows that conversation is quickly put to rest. But if a person festers a feeling for a decade and then comes out it with all of a sudden, then my own perception of that person changes. This may seem contrary to the advice I gave my colleague, but the idea is this – the bitterness has to be totally replaced, and that can be done by working through the emotions of negativity.

Ironically though I am grappling with the same situation as my colleague is with a pal of mine – Should I come out and tell her that I cant get over our last disagreement or do I just learn that nothing she says is going to change what I think about her. I usually avoid people whom I feel negative about. “Out of sight is out of mind” and I stick to that principle with a vengeance. But what if out of sight cannot happen. I am falling into the same trap my colleague has. Grappling with emotions that aren’t good for her. The logical part of my brain seems to think I have not forgiven my friend. But I know I have, it’s just the memories of our unfortunate fight, keep tinting even the smallest meeting or interaction we have and I cringe everytime we speak.
My mom always told me to choose my battles and my friends wisely. She never told me what to do when the battle was with a friend. As I induce a smile in my voice every time I talk to her, I wonder am I being false or just a good friend? . I think in the end it can be worked out only if I trust that person not to hurt me again. I love this quote of Elizabeth Edwards regarding her cheating husband,which I think applies to every hurtful relationship

"Forgiveness is a gift that I have given him, but trust -thats something he has to earn himself"

Wow, after that I really need a smile :D

It got crowded in heaven, so, for one day it was decided only to accept people who had really had a bad day on the day they died. St. Peter was standing at the pearly gates and said to the first man, "Tell me about the day you died."
The man said, "Oh, it was awful. I was sure my wife was having an affair, so I came home early to catch her with him. I searched all over the apartment but couldn't find him anywhere. So I went out onto the balcony, we live on the 25th floor, and found this man hanging over the edge by his fingertips. I went inside, got a hammer, and started hitting his hands. He fell, but landed in some bushes. So, I got the refrigerator and pushed it over the balcony and it crushed him. The strain of the act gave me a heart attack, and I died."

St. Peter couldn't deny that this was a pretty bad day, and since it was a crime of passion, he let the man in.

He then asked the next man in line about the day he died. "Well, sir, it was awful," said the second man. "I was doing aerobics on the balcony of my 26th floor apartment when I twisted my ankle and slipped over the edge. I managed to grab the balcony of the apartment below, but some maniac came out and started pounding on my fingers with a hammer. Luckily I landed in some bushes. But, then the guy dropped a refrigerator on me!"

St. Peter chuckled, let him into heaven and decided he could really start to enjoy this job.

"Tell me about the day you died?", he said to the third man in line.

"OK, picture this, I'm naked, hiding inside a refrigerator ..."

Keep Smilin ppl

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