Deciding what my actions will be, based on what you do, is not always a good approach to living. True, if you do something I don’t like, it gives me the opportunity to adjust my behavior to either avoid you or to reciprocate in kind.
We tend to fall into this behavior when someone either says or does something that we don’t like. When they make us mad.
The attraction of this response is that it is well defined and justifies our actions. It transfers the responsibility of how I’ve chosen to act to the other person whether it is right or not. We make our behavior right, basing it proudly on what the other person said or did. It’s too convenient.
Our lives become just like a pinball, bouncing off of the next person based on the way that they treated us. Always reacting. Living conditionally. Never being ourselves.
Our behavior cannot be consistent or trusted when it changes every time we interact with another person. It’s hard to express and live the values that we deeply believe in. In the end, all we do is confuse ourselves as to who we are.
We tend to jump to the conclusion, that whatever another person did to bother us, was intentional. Sorry, but you are giving the other person too much credit. Sometimes it’s just not so.
Remember, many times we don’t “guess right” as to the thinking or struggles the other person is going through. There are always gaps in our knowledge. We too, most likely have done things at times that others were hurt by as well. It happens.
When we deeply care for a person, cause, organization, or work, “bumps in the road” become just that — “bumps in the road”. I may not like what has just taken place, but I choose to not place great importance on what just happened.
The relationship is what is important. Building, connecting and adding depth to the relationship we create with others around us takes time, forgiveness, compassion, and unconditional love.
I sometimes let time “heal the wounds” that were created in the recent past. When unable to provide solutions to breakthrough your or my issues, showing the other person that I care builds a new bridge of trust between us over time. It shows that we understand the vulnerabilities that our humanity exposes us to through our lives.
If I know the other person intimately, and care for them deeply, their words or actions, at a time of weakness, shouldn’t stop me from continuing to care.
When we face obstacles in our life, we sometimes fold and other times persevere. There have been times when we misjudge, misspeak, make our own errors in judgment. Less aware of their impact, we continue to walk down the path of our life.
We forget that life has two sides to it. Yours and mine. This interface is never smooth. That is what makes unconditional love and making a true impact in the world so difficult.
The minute we make our lives conditional, based on what others do and say, we make our lives smaller, more isolated, and less free.