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Never Forgive December 10, 2008

Posted by downton in Never Forgive.
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Never Forgive

     People who screw up their relationships often carry grudges.  If their mates do something that hurts or annoys them, they record the infraction in their minds under “never, ever forgive this.” As their lists get long, communication becomes punctuated with “remember”—that’s like “Remember when you said” or “Remember what you did . . .”  The past keeps being brought up as a weapon.  Now, forgiveness has the opposite effect.  It keeps the past in the past so it doesn’t mess up the present or the future.

     Have you undermined love in your relationship because you’re still carrying grudges?  What are they?  How deeply do you feel them?  What would it take to forgive your mate so you can put the past in the past where it belongs?  What grudges are so deep and strong in you that you’ll never forgive?  What does never forgiving do to you and your relationship?

     Now, these are tough questions, because if your mate has hurt you in some way, you’ll want your mate to pay a price.  If it’s physical abuse, you should have left or gone to the police because there are times when abusers should pay a price.  When verbal or physical abuse persistently enter a relationship, it’s a sign that the relationship is over, however sadistically the couple tries to keep it together.  These are the times when bringing the relationship to an end makes sense.

     Holding grudges and forgiveness are always in a contest in our minds.  It’s like two figures fighting for dominance.  The “grudgy” in us shouts, “Make ‘em pay a big price.” The angelic “forgivy” replies, “Now don’t be rash, you know that forgiveness is the only way to heal this situation.”  The “grudgy” chimes in, “Like hell! There’s nothing better than revenge! It just makes you feel so good.”  The “forgivy” replies in a sweet, almost sentimental voice, “You know that revenge only breeds more revenge.  You’re going to pay a price for this.”

     Well, this battle is going on in your mind as you try to figure out how to respond to your mate’s insensitive and hurtful behavior.  It could be something your mate said, did, or simply hinted at.

     See, one of the reasons relationships get screwed up is our duality.  We have a light and dark side.  By the way, the dark side runs around creating havoc at night and the light side does all kinds of nice, constructive things during the day.  Have you ever noticed how much you want to fight at night, while in the daylight your relationship is peachy and you’re just so pleased with it?

     Now, I know there are exceptions to this rule about night and day, like sometimes when romance is brewing the peachy side of us rules at night and sometimes right at high noon our dark animal nature suddenly bursts forth with the wildest accusations and recriminations.  Yet, I’ll bet you’ll agree that night time is when your irrational Mr. Hyde runs about making a muck of things, while your Dr. Jekyl thinks and behaves rationally.  Now, what does this have to do with grudges and forgiveness? In the morning, you’ll be willing to forgive, but as soon as the sun goes down, you’ll be sharpening your teeth.

     This struggle between the light and dark side of our nature is what makes being a human being so tricky (and difficult).  There’s always a contest going on to see if Mr. Hyde or Dr. Jekyl rules.  This goes back to the point I made in a previous chapter.  There’s a part of us who loves our mate and a part who doesn’t.  Having a good relationship means managing this inner struggle so love not hate rules the day.  Hate (dislike) will probably be lurking in the background so keep an eye out for it.

     When you fully understand the power of your dual nature to make a relationship heavenly or hellish, you can buy my tee shirt.  On the front it says, “Stand back, I’m a war zone.”  On the back it says, “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde live in me.”

     So far, we’ve been discussing forgiveness of your mate, or lack thereof.  But, there are a lot of people who find it easier to forgive their mates than to forgive themselves.  Let’s face it, we can do cruel and nasty things to our mates that make us feel guilty.  We may ask for forgiveness and even when our mates forgive us, we stay on the torture rack, making sure that we suffer.

     When I work with people who can’t forgive themselves, I give them a little practice to use.  Every time they catch themselves on the guilt rack, they need to do something kind.  It could be giving your mate a neck massage, offering a word of encouragement to a workmate or friend, picking litter up from the sidewalk, or sending a note of appreciation to someone.  Now, you can see what this does.  It creates proof that you’re not as much of a jerk as you think.  In time, by doing good deeds, the guilt evaporates. When you’re feeling guilty, get busy handing out kindnesses.

Coaching Tips

■ Understand your dual nature.  You are of two minds about many things, including how you feel about your mate.  It’s okay to feel conflicting sentiments, but work toward the positive as much as you can.  Humans are evolving to a higher state of consciousness, so be a part of that evolution.  Manage your dark side so the light in you can shine.

■ When you mate does something that hurts you and you want to seek revenge (your Mr. Hyde), forgive while the sun’s out and try to maintain that commitment through the night. If you can do that for several days, you might—just might—put the incident that made you mad or disappointed in the past where it belongs.

■ If you say something or do something to your mate which makes you feel guilty first apologize and then start your kindness campaign.  You might even find giving out kindnesses so gratifying you make it into a daily routine.  Just think how the world would change for you and others!

■ Never try to solve problems or make important decisions at night when your Mr. Hyde is in his commanding position of power. Make them during the daylight hours when your kinder, more considerate, more cooperative self is controlling your mind and emotions.

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