Working On Forgiveness And Growth – Part 3

June 22, 2013

forgiveness is to move onPicking up from yesterday –

I still kind of feel like writing that letter. I don’t know if it’s a letter that eventually I’ll actually give to him, or one I’ll just write to kind of organize my thoughts, then rip up; figuring we both made mistakes, we’re cutting our losses, he doesn’t need an apology from me.

Ether way, whether he ends up receiving the letter or not, I was thinking about what I might put in this letter.

And there have been a few times while mind-drafting that I thought, “I shouldn’t have to apologize!” or “What about what he did to me? What about so many times he was inconsiderate?!”

But then, I thought, “Those things don’t really matter.” It doesn’t ever matter what other people do; I should always treat them with kindness and respect.

And I didn’t necessarily always treat him that way.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t do anything heinously awful. I didn’t scream at him or say curse words at him. But, I did imperfect things. I was impatient and perturbed and so on. And I feel like I want to apologize for that.

There are two things to remember when it comes to the way he treated me.

1) Even if he maybe didn’t always respect me or my time (which really was my biggest complaint with him), he did a lot of really nice things too. He said a lot of really nice things, and he was a great support system for personal stuff.

(He’s been a great person to lean on during kidney ups and downs.) And I appreciate that a lot. I can’t let bad things outweigh or erase the good things.

2) Sometimes I think about this great tweet by Drew Carey. “My goal is constant love and forgiveness. For me and everybody I meet.”

And I thought that was just so great. No wonder Drew Carey’s so happy. Imagine if we could just forgive. If people didn’t even have to apologize, and we didn’t have to throw their mistakes in their faces. We just forgave them and moved on. I bet we might be happier too. (Or maybe you already do that. But I bet I would be happier if I did that.)

But then comes this overall question I have – how can I be a great person without letting other people walk all over me?

I want to completely forgive this guy for things he did that upset me – even if he doesn’t ask for forgiveness. And I want to apologize for anything bad I did to him with absolutely no strings attached – not to try to get him to apologize back, not to try to start our friendship back up full steam, not for anything else other than to just clear my conscience and hopefully make him feel better/feel valued.

But, if you become this great person who always forgives and always takes at least your own share of the responsibility (if not more), then how do you make it so that people don’t walk all over you?

Does that automatically happen because people change their behavior to match your kindness? Do people who would walk on you just fall out of your life, and people who treat you with kindness and respect waltz on in – since that’s what you’re inviting in with your great attitude?

I really don’t know. I guess maybe if I reach that nice place, I’ll find out. Or maybe Drew Carey will tell me someday how it’s worked for him if we become bffs (or, even more bffs than we already are, of course ;)).

2 thoughts on “Working On Forgiveness And Growth – Part 3”

  1. Interesting triple-piece. It reminds me of an ex-girlfriend I bumped into the other day, who was an awesome person…except for most of the time that we were dating. There are people out there who are conflicted (or just plain don’t like) the way things are going. [1] And while ideally they initiate a conversation and things either change or end, they instead get more and more annoying until the other person finally brings down the hammer.

    Anyway, it’s clear that any “good friend” who wouldn’t watch your Price is Right show (All…what…8 minutes?) was sending a loud message that they were unhappy.

    What I learned the hard way is to have WAY less tolerance for crap like that because–assuming they’re not just a complete asshole–it’s a symptom of something else and it’s not going to stop. Perhaps you can remind yourself that the ugliness wasn’t really them, but rather a manifestation of their unhappiness + immaturity. And under different circumstances there much cooler selves reemerge.

    [1] In our case, non-monogamy wasn’t working for her. With me being happily married (and yes, my wife knew and the 3 of us hung out sometimes) that wasn’t something I ever would change…at least not the way she might have wanted me to.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. You always have such great insightful stuff to add.

      And that’s a really great point about some people just changing their behavior instead of articulating what’s going on. Heck, even I am guilty of that with some people from my past. (I feel bad about it, and do my best to notice it and correct it now.)

      In this specific case, it was a little annoying because I swung the door wide open for him to tell me what was going on. (I know communication is awesome. And he was generally great at it. I usually felt like he was a very open, willing-to-share-a-whole-lot, super truthful guy).

      I said a couple of times something along the lines of, “Look, if you don’t want to hang out, that’s okay. But, can you just let me know if you are trying to send me those signals? Because if you tell me that you’re ‘just busy but you really, really want to hang out,’ I’m going to keep trying. And I don’t want to waste either of our time, or annoy you by not picking up what you’re putting down.”

      He’d emphatically state that he absolutely very much wanted to hang out. Now just wasn’t the time. But as I said in the blog entry, that now stretched into a number of months. (Sorry if I’m re-treading some ground from the blog post here.)

      It was weird because we still had very lovely email and text exchanges. We even continued to have some of our sort of deep conversations – just slowly and through written communication, instead of on the phone or face-to-face. He still texted me nice compliments sometimes to randomly brighten my day. There was so much good that I couldn’t understand the bad parts, and I tried to ignore them or justify them.

      I still tried to be supportive of him. I went to see a couple of his shows. He’d always effusively thank me for coming, and would ask me to wait by the stage door so he could see me. And we had some wonderful conversations there.

      So, there’s just this weird juxtaposition with the two sides of him. Sometimes he’d make me feel like I was the only person in the world. Then others times, he’d make me feel like every single thing in the world was more important than me. (I don’t need to be a super top priority. But, I should maybe matter a little. I know everyone needs alone time to power down. But, so much so, that no time can be found in many months?)

      I just didn’t understand that juxtaposition. And I still don’t really understand it.

      Unfortunately, not to lump everyone in L.A. together (Although, I do it all the time, so why not now?) – But that seems to be a personality type I see very often! When you’re in sight, you are charmed so very hard, and made to feel like there’s no one else in the universe but you. Then when you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind, basically.

      I really, really wanted to believe this person wasn’t one of those L.A. personalities (and he might not be), but I guess it’s just part of living there. And I can’t blame him too much. I think that L.A.-ness rubs off on ALL of us. I think I maybe see bits of it peeking out in myself sometimes. And of course, I hate that. And it’s scary and awful.

      So, I don’t know. (I don’t really know what I’m saying here.)

      Basically, thank you for your wonderful, insightful comment. Even though this was someone I thought was good at communication; in the end, I think you are right. I don’t know what it was that he was unhappy with, or didn’t want to talk about/didn’t feel like he could talk about with me. I don’t know how much of it had to do with me, him, or someone/something else. But, in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter.

      I really appreciate your commenting. It was very helpful and gave me a new perspective to think about. 🙂

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