Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Acknowledge Pain. Don't Cause It.

Today I messed up. Not just a little oops but a legitimate major faux pas that caused someone pain. Was it intentional? Maybe not, but still it is my fault. I forgot a lesson that I had already learned, not something that I didn’t know. That lesson is that people in pain, especially emotional pain, sometimes need to have their hurt acknowledge, not fixed.
In trying to fix things by giving voice to the maybes, I failed to acknowledge the right to have our own feelings.  I wanted to help but truthfully, I was reacting out of fear and frustration also. I often try to be fair to everyone at the expense of those I am dealing with. Today I went completely overboard with that behavior.    I tried to slap a Band-Aid on it by presenting other sides instead of just acknowledging the frustration and pain that was in front of me.  
My thoughts have been so colored lately by all the negativity and vitriol being slung about online. The fear of seeing someone fall into the kind of negativity that is rampant led me to do instead of just be. Was I wrong with parts of what I expressed? No, but that didn’t make me right because I didn’t met the need. I was more interested in changing someone else’s thought process than in caring for their pain. That makes me wrong, regardless of good intentions, regardless of any truth that I might have shared, (and I fully acknowledge that I could have been very wrong in my analysis of the situation), regardless of any feelings I may have had. I was flat out wrong.

Until I learn to look at things from the perspective of another instead of forcing them to look through my glasses nothing changes.  Can I learn from this? Sure. Can I repair the damage? I don’t know. What I do know is I am the only one who can change my behavior. I can be sorry all day long but until I learn to acknowledge another’s pain without arguing the legitimacy of it nothing gets better for any of us. 

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