Should you forgive when people continue to do you wrong?

It is fair to say that we have all been disappointed by another person at least once in our lives; if you haven’t already, then rest assured, you will at some point in your life, guaranteed. You may even be disappointed by someone’s actions towards you more than once in life, which bears the question; should you forgive when people continue to do you wrong?

I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings ‘Forgive and forget’ and ‘Turn the other cheek’, but to what extent are these philosophies useful when it comes to repeat offenders? Are we expected to continually make allowances for people who have no regard for the feelings of others? I, for one, have been on the receiving end of being let down on numerous occasions by the same people, and from experience, I can say that it can be disheartening and frustrating. But it has opened my eyes to how people can be, and given me insight into the way forgiveness can and should be shown.

It all depends on the situation and the person at hand. This covers several fields; the relationship you have with said person, their integrity, and the act that they continue to carry out, or to omit from doing. In addition to this, what also comes into play is to what extent their actions affect you, how you have responded in the past, and what they have subsequently done thereafter.

A mistake is defined as; an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong. As humans, we are allowed to make mistakes because it gives us the opportunity to learn from the experience and do better in the future. However, as the saying goes, ‘We are what we repeatedly do’, so if a person continues to make the same mistake it shows a lack of care, growth, and a personal choice to continue to behave this way. A personal choice to make the wrong decision in a situation, which is the point where I would say, they begin to take liberties. And once people begin to take liberties, in my opinion, they show themselves to be presumptuous, impertinent and audacious. In other words, they lack respect, and have no problem in showing it. This goes for relationships at any level; be it associates, colleagues, acquaintances, friends or family members.

The worst part about people who let us down repeatedly, is that a lot of the time, on the other hand, they can be lovely people. They can be caring, funny, considerate and great to be around. However, a person who repeatedly lets you down, repeatedly makes you feel bad about yourself, repeatedly is not there for you, and repeatedly says or does things to you which you have made clear you do not like, do not approve of, do not want, or do not appreciate, is undependable, unreliable and fickle. There is only so many times you can make allowances for someone. You shouldn’t have to feel exhausted and tired of making excuses for the same person over and over again; there has to be a point where you say ‘No more. Enough is enough.’

I definitely believe that if we ever find ourselves in situations like these, we have the right to put a stop to it. Be that, with of without the knowledge of the other person. Oftentimes it can be better if the other person does not know you have decided not to grant them anymore chances, as they can be known to wear you down or talk you out of it. But sometimes, it is good to give people a piece of your mind, and let them know just how they have made you feel. It can be humbling and eye opening for them. However, it is up to you to discern how the person will react and whether this method will be effective in your personal situation. Nevertheless, the option still stands for you to take action on your own terms, without the other person knowing. You can make a personal decision to distance yourself from the situation. This doesn’t have to mean cutting yourself off from the person completely, but perhaps just lowering your expectations of them and choosing not to continue to put yourself in a place where you can allow them to do what they usually do.

For example, if you constantly invite someone to your birthday party each year and they constantly make excuses as to why they can’t make it; don’t invite them any more. It doesn’t mean you have to stop being friends with them; it just means you are saving yourself from unnecessary stress and aggravation. Another example; if you are constantly left out from group activities, don’t expect to be invited, and then you will find that you won’t care. Let me clarify what I mean by this; by accepting this fact, you are simply accepting that you are not doing anything wrong on your part, but it is the other person who is being bitter, which is unflattering and juvenile. You will often find that petty behaviour like the aforementioned can be quite humorous once you see it for what it really is; childish. In saying this, I am not discrediting the act of forgiveness; on the contrary. You may have heard the saying ‘Forgive and forget’, well I think we should ‘forgive and accept’.

To forgive is to ‘simply stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake’, and to accept is to ‘take what is offered.’ Therefore in doing this, you are deciding not to waste time and energy on the negativity that people present you with.

To reiterate this, here is a video of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama discussing forgiveness, which more or less follows what I’m saying:

At the end of the day, we all have our flaws, and none of us are perfect, however, I believe we should all strive to better ourselves and learn from our experiences in order to grow. And to grow, sometimes we need to let go of certain things that may be holding us back. At the end of the day, we all grow and different speeds, and life has a funny way of showing us this, so don’t be disheartened if you have to distance yourself from certain people, as not only are you bettering yourself, but you are setting an example for others. Whether or not they choose to accept that is their choice. But it is important to remember that your priority should be your own happiness and you shouldn’t let other people take it away.

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Let’s Talk About…(#6) – Making ‘Friends’ (Part 2) – Social

Back in November, I made a post about the concept of friendship and what classifies a relationship between two people as a ‘friendship’. I also spoke about the variations, limitations and complexities of friendships, and in retrospect I have a few more points to add. That post can be found here.

Friendship is a great part of life and can bring joy and happiness to people. It’s always good to have someone to share the highs and lows of life with, someone who always has your back and who you can share your thoughts, secrets and ideas with. However, I have recently been pondering over how you, personally, can affect the way a friendship plays out, and how certain things that you do can shape a friendship.

As I am almost certain I have mentioned on this blog before at least once,  I find it easy to talk to lots of different types of people. However, ironically, I can also be extremely socially awkward. I don’t like being forced to socialise and I despise being the centre of attention. For example, I hate answering questions in lectures because everyone in the room will be focused on me, however, during the break I will happily turn and speak to someone next to me who I’ve never spoken to before. But on the other hand, I don’t mind being the centre of attention in a group of people that I know. For example, I was always known to give witty answers in high school and make the class and the teacher laugh. I really enjoyed high school and there wouldn’t be a moment where I wasn’t laughing or chattering away in class; and my school reports are testament to that. But if I am somewhere new, or somewhere I don’t know anyone I will stay completely silent. And that’s what throws people off about me. My resting face, I have been told, is stone-cold and intimidating; which is something I can’t necessarily help. But I suppose it has been a blessing and a curse because people don’t tend to mess with me. However, if people don’t know me they often get the wrong idea about me. There have been countless occasions where people have told me they can’t believe I am the way I am because my personality is is completely different to the way that people perceive me at first glance. But as they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

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Back to the point I was trying to make; being socially awkward can create limitations in making friends because people often don’t have the time to cultivate conversation. A lot of the time if people feel like a conversation isn’t going anywhere, or a person is being shy or awkward, instead of trying a different angle or to make the other person feel more comfortable, they would rather just find an excuse to end the conversation. However, this isn’t always good as everyone has their bad days and not everyone is the life of the party. Personally, I love finding out that someone who you perhaps would have misjudged based on rumours or a general attitude towards them by others, turns out to be completely different to what you expected; when you find a topic that they are passionate about and see them begin to glow and light up. I find people like this so interesting and refreshing and I tend to come across them surprisingly often. It’s all about taking the time to get to know people, because a lot of the time the people who have the most to say are the worst friends as they are frivolous and change friends with every minute that passes. With the mysterious, seemingly quiet people, it often feels as though you have earned their friendship as you’ve taken the time to get to know them and have shown an interest. Also, they tend to have more interesting and insightful points to make as they are more observant and reserved.

Another occurrence you can find in friendship is when the effort put into the relationship is not equal. For example, when it’s always the same person making the first move, sending the first text, making the first call, and these actions are not returned. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, often actually, there are people who genuinely have every intention to keep in contact, but get so caught up in everyday life that they never get around to doing it (I’m guilty of this), and a lot of the time it is one person who will initiate but is fine with this as they know the other person does genuinely want to keep the relationship going. However, this is not always the case, and chasing someone can be an exhausting chore. Some people still miss the warning signs of a broken relationship when they are blaring in all their glory right in front of their eyes. It’s very difficult to distinguish unbalanced friendships these days as everyone is so engulfed in their own lives to keep up with another person’s life. However, it is always important to make time for friends; whether it’s setting a certain time in the week, month or even year to meet up regularly to keep things healthy.

Contrastingly, there are also friendships where it’s not the best idea to spend too much time with the person as things always tend to turn ugly. For example, if you know a friend is short tempered and you always accidentally say the wrong thing to get them going, or a friend who is overly competitive and takes everything as a challenge. These friends will turn anything into an argument or debate; just today I witnessed two people arguing about which of the two was the most stubborn! There is also the sensitive friend who gets offended by the smallest thing, and the friend who just gets in a weird mood, becomes standoffish, and makes things really awkward for no apparent reason. These things are all frustrating, but people are people, and you’ve just got to let them be who they are. It’s not the best idea to confront people about these kinds of flaws as they are often touchy and are aware that they come across this way and don’t like it in themselves. However, some are generally unaware and would appreciate you pointing it out to them. Either way it’s risky to bring it up and I would avoid it at all costs unless you discern that they won’t take it the wrong way. But beware, even if they seem like their fine with it, don’t be surprised if they drag it up in the near future and use it spitefully against you. It is also important not to place yourself in situations that you know make you uncomfortable, so if you genuinely don’t feel comfortable with someone then don’t put yourself in situations where you have to spend elongated time with them. Distance yourself, because you are not obligated to be their friend and more importantly, your happiness is paramount.

Finally, I want to talk about that friend, that annoying friend, who is amazing when you get them alone, but around other people they always try to show off and act completely different to how they are with you. For example, they may tease you in front of others, which they wouldn’t do if you were alone, or they might seem cruder, ruder or just completely different. I’m not sure what to think about these types of friends because they may behave like this for a number of reasons. For instance, they may be insecure and only feel comfortable around you, they may respect you so much that they behave around you but let loose around others, they may love attention, they may want to be accepted by those they consider ‘popular’, or they may just be two-faced. Depending once again on how you discern the situation, you may want to ask them why they act up, but as before, this may leave you on thin ice, so be warned!

Let’s Talk About…(#4) -Making ‘Friends’ – Social

Friendship. What is it? Is it a real concept and how does it work? What are its restrictions and limitations? I have been discussing these topics with a couple people lately as well as thinking to myself and I haven’t been able to come to a conclusion; until now. I think a friendship will be shaped by a number of factors including environment, compatibility and neediness. Let me elaborate on these.

Firstly; environment. I definitely believe that friendships can be limited by where they are formed. I think often, well at least in my experience, we are able to make friends where we spend most of our time. Personally, I would like to think I was quite sociable in the sense that I find it easy to talk to many different types of people and not feel weird or uncomfortable about it. For example, to use a cliché example, as a high school student I didn’t really fit the ‘mould’ of any clique as I was able to gel with people from all of the different groups. I guess you could say I was a ‘drifter’ of sorts. Anyway, being a drifter has it’s benefits, for example never being lonely at lunch time as you always have someone to chill with or speak to. However, it also has it’s downsides as you are unable to cultivate meaningful friendships with one person because you’re always moving about. Your friendships are limited because they do not surpass a certain level. Conversations don’t really progress and they often stay around the same sort of topics. Thus, these friends are confined to ‘school’ as they don’t really travel out of that environment. This can apply to any given social environment.

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Another restriction to friendship can be compatibility. Have you ever had a friend that you honestly really like but because of a certain trait they have, you try to avoid putting yourself in certain positions with them. For example, if they are oversensitive which means you are unable to make the type of jokes you personally like due to the fear of the other person taking them the wrong way. Another example of this is where a friend is not able to take criticism or advice because they feel like you are being controlling and overstepping the mark when that wasn’t in the slightest bit your intention. This is a case of incompatibility of sorts as you have to condense yourself for that person which shouldn’t have to be the case if you are truly ‘friends’. Shouldn’t you feel free to be your true self around your friends? That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be think before you speak or purposely try to be mean; just being able to let your guard down and relax – something we are not able to do much in today’s society as we are always fearful we will offend someone with what we say through misunderstanding or communication barriers, or hypersensitivity.

Finally, another aspect to friendship which raises question marks is neediness. Let’s face it; some people are too needy! In many friendships one person is George and the other is Lennie. In other words;  a leader and a follower; a parent and a child. In my experience I have been put off people who have the tendency to be excessively clingy and do not respect the fact that I need space and have my own problems too. Also, that I am not a 24 hour agony aunt/uncle. Don’t get me wrong! I love (and have a natural flare for) giving advice, but it can get tedious when I have to repeat myself over and over and over again or when the other person doesn’t take the advice in the first place and then comes running back for more advice which they probably will not follow either. Friendships in my opinion should be balanced, although obviously this will not always be the case. The same way I should be able to give you advice is the same way I should be able to ask you for advice – an even playing field.

In conclusion, it feels great to have exhaled this weight of my chest and to have have freed my mind of this clutter. In a room in my brain right now, brainiacs are rejoicing that the garage has finally been cleared. I think it shouldn’t be your number one goal in life to have a true friend as I think they either happen or they don’t. Similar to finding the ‘one’. You can’t force these things. And besides, who is to say there is anything wrong with having specific friends for specific places anyway? It keeps life neat, clean and organised!

If you agree (or disagree) with the points I have discussed or want to share what friendship means to you, or even if you just want a chat, feel free to leave a comment below and share this post! 😀