I’ve written a number of blogs on the choices we have when responding to people and situations that seem to be aligned against our best interests. Today I am writing about the flip side of those circumstances – when we’re the person who may have said something or done something careless.
We’ve all been there: we’ve said things we wish we hadn’t, taken actions we’d do much differently today and shared things with others that we immediately knew we shouldn’t have shared. It’s part of life and hopefully, in recognizing the error of our ways, we’ll avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Perhaps in the process we’ll become a nicer person, too (and there’s always room for improvement, even in the best of us)!
Sometimes however, we will find that while we’ve learned our hard lessons, made our amends and moved on, there are those who seem to take it on as their life mission to make sure no one forgets that we’re a jerk.
This can be mildly annoying, and is even humorous at times. Most often it is just plain sad. It can be tempting to think that we need to “do something” about their entrenched position, but in truth – it’s not our problem anymore: it’s theirs.
They’ve made the decision to hold on to the negativity of a situation or circumstance that we’ve moved past. They may invest in getting others “on their side” and will often look for additional evidence that we’re a jerk. If that’s their goal, they’ll find it because anything can be interpreted in multiple ways. If you don’t believe me on this one, think about the political theater taking place in the media right now!
The trick to avoid getting sucked back into a negative cycle in circumstances like these and to keeping our energy fields clear is to treat these folks the same way we treat anyone whose intentions are aligned against our good: wish them peace, know that like us, they are a child of the Universe,… and move out of their circle of influence. None of us is required to do repeat penance for issues we’ve acknowledged, amended and moved beyond.
If they get over their irritation and reach out, I encourage being gracious and forgiving. If they don’t get over it, let them be. They’ve made a decision to carry around extra baggage and chances are good that your stuff is in there with stuff from a lot of other people (some people are pissed-off-professionals; always offended, all the time).
I’ve often quoted Wayne Dyer who taught that when we have the choice to be right or to be kind; we should choose kindness. While I agree with this, we also must learn when kindness includes walking away. We’re not being kind to ourselves when we invite negativity to remain in our lives, and we won’t stay in the kindness zone for long if we continue to expose ourselves to those who hold no good will for us.