• December 26, 2014

Be better, not bitter

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 11:07 am | Updated: 10:08 pm, Mon Dec 9, 2013.

I have struggled with writing something all week, mostly because I wanted to be crystal clear on my motives for writing it. To hurt or blame? No. To make a point, hold someone accountable? Somewhat. To allow others to gain the clarity and strength they may need to challenge their own investment in relationships that are hurtful? Most definitely.

It was my birthday last week, and wow, talk about feeling loved! All the calls, visits, hugs, cards, heartfelt gifts, social media and text messages too innumerable to count - birthday love galore. Those relationships that I work fervently to nurture - they are the true gifts that steadily pour love into my heart and, hopefully, vice versa.

A family member (family of origin, immediate family, not extended) did not acknowledge my birthday. Not in any way, shape or form. What was even more perplexing and hurtful about this is that a little more than a week ago, I received this email:

I'm thinking of you today. Wondering if I've been a "mean ****" in the past... Just know that I love you, ****. Let's make an effort to stay in touch and become ****friends again. Love you! ****

If you know me well, you know that I will stand before you with my arms outstretched, heart in my hands. You will also know if you repeatedly hurt me, I'll disengage from the relationship. This is relatively cut and dried with people who don't share blood; it becomes a little more complicated when you're related, especially closely related, and when there are expectations from other family members that everyone be close and get along.

I have been told, "Where is your forgiveness factor?" when I've made futile attempts to confront this dynamic in the past. I don't think it's about forgiveness at all; my wiseness factor definitely trumps.

So, for any of you who struggle with a similar situation and find yourself getting burned over and over and over again, I would like to personally empower you to let it go. You can be nice. You can be civil, cordial, friendly. But you do NOT have to invest your emotional energy in people who repeatedly hurt you just because you are related!

Don't seek vengeance, harbor anger, hurt, hate, or resentment. And stop trying to figure it out. All that is just keeping you stuck and is self-inflicting pain. Take all that energy and use it constructively! Channel all that in a positive way, and direct it toward people who truly love you, appreciate you, accept you, respect you, value you.

I ran into someone today that I don't know well, but in the few face to face conversations I've had with her, I would like to know her better. She runs deep and clear. I admire her. She said to me:

"You have to have a good relationship with yourself in order to have a good relationship with anyone else. And, having a good relationship with yourself....? Now that can sure be difficult and complicated!"

So true, and exactly what I needed to hear. So, in what I consider to be genuine Christian behavior- where spirituality and true character are what really matters- I looked up as I went about my daily business and silently conveyed, "Hey, Thanks God. And Dad. Love you, thanks for always keepin' me straight, keepin' me real and havin' my back".

Will you choose to be better or bitter?

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