There’s a short list of people who have taught me to love, as a verb. You know, the kind that launches you into a metamorphosis time and again, until you find that after a dozen rebirths you’ve emerged a kinder yet stronger person. Love that compels you to change, not forcefully or because of manipulation, but because there is a mutual interest in fostering emotional, mental, and physical well being in both parties.
My mother, by example and by advice. Half of my father, who taught great things some of the time but often acted contradictorily. My boyfriend and love of my life, whose trust, tenderness, and silliness has made me better. And occasionally friends, who are understandably less willing to enter that battle.
And that’s exactly what it is: a battle. It’s a push and pull, however difficult or lengthy, until you discover a common understanding and solution. Often argument is the catalyst for this kind of change.
- Step 1: someone gets upset.
- Step 2: you talk about it.
- Step 3: you disagree about it.
- Step 4: you realize that feeling you are right isn’t helping. (Can be a huge sticking point for anyone.)
- Step 5: both understand where the other is coming from and now are interested in finding a solution. (Can take a while to hash out.)
- Step 6: some form of “I’m sorry” or “I’ll do things differently” is offered up by one or both. (Prideful people hesitate or omit this step.)
- Step 7: Hug, kiss, smile, and eventually forget. (A doozy for those who hold grudges and find it hard to let go.)
In this case, “forgiveness” is an offer of trust. I trust that you’ll work with me to solve the problem going forward. And the act of “forgetting” happens somewhat more gradually, as the solution is implemented over a period of days, weeks, or months.
Skipping or getting stuck at some of these steps can bode rather poorly for any relationship. And in some cases, you can end up never talking again – which honestly, like many things in life, is a mixed bag.