This past 3-day weekend consisted of mostly family time (the BEST kinds of weekends). On Sundays the whole family gets together to watch the Niner game, have dinner, and usually watch Once Upon A Time, a series we all have recently gotten into. The topic of conversation after dinner fell upon a sore subject. We started chatting about certain family members who have caused great strife, suffering, and turmoil within our family. Voices were raised, and tears were shed. The hurt that has been caused by them runs deep, and due to the nature of our family dynamic, nothing ever gets done about it. When people have tried to confront the issues in the past, the divide simply cuts deeper, causing all people involved to lose all hope of things ever being mended. It is a sad part of our history, past and present, but one that is still very real and unresolved.
But, there are lessons to be learned, and those lessons that have come from this part of our family life have been important in how I now view and deal with difficult situations/people. I realized that much of the distress was caused by issues of control – wanting to control situations and people…how they act, think, and react to what I say and do. Selfish, I know.
So I offer two pieces of advice to those out there that are holding on to a past hurt from a loved one:
#1 Think about what YOU have contributed to the situation.
It’s so easy for us to think we are completely innocent. I did nothing wrong. It was all her. She is the one who is causing drama. I have nothing to do with anything. While this may actually be the case in rare circumstances, most of the time there was a part that we, ourselves, played that contributed to the mess. Albeit we may have just been reacting to something the other person said/did, but nevertheless we are adding to an already negative situation. Instead, think about what you can do to help. Even if it was not your fault, what are you going to do to fix it?
#2 Understand that you cannot control other people.
You can only control your own actions, thoughts, and emotions. You cannot be responsible for what others do or say. So it’s ok to be upset and angry and hurt because of what another person did to you, but be upset and then let it go. Because you cannot spend all day dwelling on how another is choosing to live his/her life. Your energy should be spent on how you are choosing to live yours.