I was thinking about family relations or, as my dad used to call them, the ‘in-laws and the outlaws’. Depending on one’s perspective, I think that’s because one side couldn’t do anything right while on the other side, and seem to be saints.
Isn’t it funny how we can make allowances for the most outrageous behaviour from someone that’s close to us? (“Well, that’s just Billy … you know how he’s like.”). We just know that beneath it all, they’re really decent people. Yet we can’t seem to find it in our hearts to make allowances for similar behaviour in others.
Of course, it doesn’t help if these ‘outlaws’ lack any semblance of apparent social skills, but often they are responding to some self-forgotten slight – issued from us – and feel they must settle the score. This only goes to show that our actions have consequences that we are solely responsible for (although we may not think so at the time).
It’s the same with getting upset with immediate family or the ‘in-laws’, but let’s face it– you’d be the first to lend a helping hand to a complete stranger if they were down and out. Why act as if you would do any less for family?
That’s not to say that there won’t be honest disagreements sometimes, but these occasions need not be an excuse for vindictiveness. People get so mad for so long, that they forget what they’re mad about. All they know is that they are mad … at everyone, everything, all the time. Yet, many a hot argument has been cool by cold facts.
Some relationship experts suggest seeing the ‘other’ as someone like us – maybe needing patience, understanding and some loving forgiveness.
“I’ve never heard of a crime that I could not imagine committing myself.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Lord knows, I have yet to sustain this state of grace; so I wouldn’t know what living like that 24/7 must be like. None-the-less, if we want less stress in our lives, we have to be prepared to not retaliate (now or later), because all it does is fuel a feud. And often, a heart-felt “I’m sorry” is all that’s needed to begin reconciliation. We all have to decide what something is really worth.
Besides, looking at it positively, maybe it’s your timely bit of kindness – which only you can provide at a critical moment – that can make all the difference in someone else’s life. What a powerful way to live: neutralizing the negatives and accentuating the positive!
Thankfully, it takes ‘two to tango’. Life’s like that. So, unless you’re a good dancer, expect me to sit this one out.