So how many of us have relationships and as the relationships shift we start to wonder if it’s us? If it’s something we’ve said or done or if there is some other lingering issue? Let’s face it, relationships are hard and when they change for either obvious reasons or unforeseen reasons it is difficult. It can be painful and confusing. We might even often find ourselves in a place of frustration and playing the blame game. We replay the times a friend or co-worker or family member has said something to hurt us or offended us over and over again in our head. Especially if the person you’re in a relationship with does something that brings back up those old feelings that you told yourself you had moved past. We drudge up these old feelings and then those feelings make us upset all over again.
When you say you have forgiven someone you have to really mean that you have forgiven them and then put some action behind the words “I forgive you.” You cannot continue to live in that head space of “I’ve moved past it” and then five minutes later you are upset all over again. No forgiveness is not instant. It is a process. But it’s a choice. It’s a choice to move forward; to grow. It’s a choice to not let those same feelings come back and bring you back to the place that you said you moved on from. When those thoughts come into your head of how someone hurt you or irritated you, you have to remind yourself that you’ve let those things go. It is not worth staying in that place of pain and confusion. Especially if you are still in relationship with that person. You can’t be perfectly fine with them one minute and then think of something that they said three months ago and get mad all over again!
For example, I had some not so good situations in some friendships and after we talked those things through I told myself I had forgiven and moved on. But sometimes weekly or monthly, something would be said or done and it would trigger those old emotions and then I would be hurt all over again. I would replay the things that happened and would be upset. Keep in mind the person/people hadn’t done anything in that moment recently to upset me. It was just something said that triggered those feelings and it would take me right back. One day in church the message preached hit me square in the forehead. It reminded me that yeah I had been hurt but I didn’t die. I was still living to tell about the good things God has done in my life. I was still living to do His will. And I went- “Oh my goodness! I said I had forgiven, but really I haven’t. I’m still harboring feelings of resentment and bitterness.” And let me tell you, resentment and bitterness do not look good on you! People can see it and they don’t want to be near it. In that moment I realized I had to truly let those things go. They happened but life went on and while I was still holding those feelings the other people had long ago moved on.
So then how do we move past these things? How do we let go? Where do we begin? I first want to say recognizing that you are still harboring these feelings is the first start. Wanting to do something about them is the next step. Prayer is always good. There isn’t a single thing in life that you are struggling with that you can’t take to God. He already knows that you are struggling with it. He’s just waiting on you to give it to Him or ask Him for the wisdom to handle it. Another way to move forward is to remind yourself that most of the things people say have little or nothing to actually do with you. What the friend or co-worker or family member said or did that really bothered you is more about them than it is about you. It’s about their own struggles and their own insecurities.
People say they want to see you succeed and want to see you happy, and some genuinely mean it. But for some people seeing those around them succeed is a reminder to them that they have failed or feel like they are failing. I think we all need to determine what our definition of success is and then we wouldn’t spend so much time comparing ourselves to others. Comparison only makes us feel like we haven’t accomplished the things in life that society says we should have accomplished by a certain age. There is no age limit on success!!! Some people may have it all together at age 30 and some at 55. Who cares! Some people think owning a big house, nice cars and making a lot of money is successful while others, like me, feel that taking care of my home and raising well rounded individuals is successful. Being a good wife and caring for my family, that is a goal for me. That’s success.
When you’re in relationship with someone and no matter what you say they find the down side to it, it’s not you. It’s them. It’s the way they see themselves in life right now. They feel like they can’t do this or they can’t do that so then they project that off onto those around them because it makes them feel better for the time being. Initially we get upset at what is said and upset with the person. We say that they are a hater or that they do not support us. Once again, in some ways this could be true. But in all honesty they are wrestling with their own failures or what they deem as a lack of success in their lives.
So instead of allowing people in your life to speak negative things and then getting upset about what is said; one, distance yourself-set up some boundaries that that are good for you! Two, remind yourself that it’s not about you. You are doing great. There is nothing wrong with the fact that you are happy. Their negative comments are a reflection of their own unhappiness. You know what the third thing is, right? Love them. (Insert eye roll emoji followed by the word “Seriously?!” right here LOL!!!). Love them despite the fact that you might want to give them a piece of your mind but is it really necessary? Continue to encourage them and be a positive influence in their life. But do not allow yourself to get wrapped up in their negativity or lack of support. Continue to push forward, focusing on you and your goals because literally at the end of the day you can only control yourself. You cannot control what other people think or say. Continue to bless them and watch how God will bless you. Keep the focus more on you. Continue to concentrate on developing into a better, kinder, wiser person and concentrate less on them and watch how things in your life begin to develop and change. More importantly, watch how much better you’ll feel as a person.