When we believe another person is unable to see the harsh reality of their words or actions it can particularly frustrating. When those words or actions affect us directly by activating our own worry, shame, sadness or pain, it can be especially difficult. Even traumatic.
Maybe we want to change their perception of past events.
But then again “truth” is a relative concept, often simply held in the eyes of the beholder.
Perhaps they can’t let go of a something we’ve done in our history together.
Yet the idea that we can magically make their feelings go away by our well reasoned arguments is a fool’s errand.
Maybe we don’t like their choice of friend, lover, job, outfit, hair style, the book they are reading and on and on.
But it’s probably worth remembering that it’s their life and most of the time their decisions have little or nothing to do with us. It’s also worth reminding ourselves that much of the time we rarely have the full picture anyway.
Maybe we want them to see us fundamentally in a different light, to focus only on our good parts, or forgive us for past ills we’d prefer they ignore, or just simply extend us more grace and compassion.
Yet their journey is their journey. And our is ours.
Things will unfold in their own time, despite our attempts to jam the accelerator to the floor.
Hope is not a workable strategy. Acceptance is.
In the absence of a fully functioning time machine (which, by the way, I HAVE added to my Christmas list) we can only start where we are. And we can only work on what is within our control and, whether we like it or not, that’s our stuff, not theirs.
It may well be that the other person is in denial, or using poor judgment, or making a terrible mistake. It turns out this is what we humans do.
And eventually they’ll see it. Or not.
Either way, OUR work is the same.
The longer we stay in judgment, blame or resentment toward the other person, the longer we make ourselves miserable.