Something has happened that has hurt you to the core.  Someone who is close to you, someone you care about and who cares about you, or you suppose cares about you, has done something that has hurt you so much that you can’t think about anything else.  It’s like a knife you’ve been stabbed with and can’t reach to pull out.  It’s affecting your work, your other relationships, it’s taking up all of your personal time because you can’t focus on anything else.  It’s making you rethink relationships and how you live your life in general.  It’s life altering.  So what do you do?

That’s a judgement call that is unique to each situation because there is usually a lot that is connected to this, that is involved in it, and a lot of history, etc, etc, etc.  So it’s not cut and dried.  However, the one thing I know for sure is that something needs to happen because the situation can’t stay in this state forever without causing physical and emotional harm to this person.  They need to get some healing and resolution around this.  So how to go about that?

There seem to be two paths in general that can lead in that direction:  talking with the offending party or letting the whole matter drop.  Now option 1 can be handled in a myriad of ways.  It can be an angry confrontation, it can be a quiet sit down conversation, it can be a kind of intervention with other friends or family around as witnesses and on and on and on.  In this option the other person has the ability to give their opinion, their version of events, listen to the offended person, and take actions to help resolve the issue if they want, or continue the offense, or walk away from the situation, or end the relationship.  Or the hurt person could take actions to help resolve the issue, walk away from the situation at that point, or end the relationship, or escalate the problem what have you.

In option 2 the onus is on the injured party to do something that up to that point they haven’t been able to do.  And that is just ‘let it go’.  To do this with intent requires a huge expenditure of energy to change who they are.  It requires them to change their relationship with the other party consciously and without any change in their behavior.  It requires the person to change how they relate to that person, effects how they relate to other people, and can require them to fundamentally change how they see the world and themselves.  And it suggests that they need to forgive themselves and the other person for the transgression so that the emotional charge of it can be released.

Personally I tend to go with option 1 because, as scary and difficult as it is, it allows me to hear from the other person’s point of view, to see where I might have misconstrued or misunderstood actions and intent, and also to express myself, my truth and who I am both for that person’s benefit, to help the situation, and to support myself.  Because if I don’t have my own back, who will?  Now, not all situations call for this.  Sometimes it is the better part of valor just to suck it up and move on and I’ve done that too.  But when something truly injures me, when it is not some corporate or cultural injustice, but a one-on-one situation I tend to try to find a way to talk it through and work it out.  Because until I do it’s just my emotions and stories I’m telling in my head.  Until I at least try I can’t know what the best next steps are.  Not everyone goes that route.

And while I’m all for forgiveness, I tend to see forgiveness not as an emotional release or a ‘get out of jail free’ card, but a final step in a process that started with communication and understanding and empathy.  Forgiveness is not just about letting go of the incident, but of connecting the parties so that they understand what occurred and agree to take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.  Because forgiveness is useless if it’s just an eraser that erases the mistake while another is being made right in front of it.  That’s just a waste of eraser.  Why bother?  So is it courage to ‘just let it go’ and move on or is it cowardice?  Is confrontation worth the risk or will it just make it worse?  The devil is in the details and only the parties involved can truly know in any given situation.