Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Give a Little Bit, Do-Overs and When You Can't Fix It
"Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
I'll give a little bit of my love to you
See the man with the lonely eyes
Take his hand, you'll be surprised"
Goo Goo Dolls
I have been thinking a lot about regret lately. And how sometimes we get a chance to make right our wrongs. And sometimes we don't. I don't really believe that there is ever one side to any story. When things go haywire in a relationship, more than likely it was symphony of feelings and character and glitches in communication. And of course words or actions that were meant to communicate one thing and ended up communicating something else entirely.
Sometimes we can make amends. We can mend fences and heal hurts. We can unpack what happened and offer apologies, and move forward. Or just offer apologies. And sometimes we can't. Either the timing isn't right, or the damage is done. And we don't get a do-over.
So what helps? Well, I think a few things. I think that knowing how we contributed to the problem helps. And giving ourselves an honest, and gentle, once over to understand how we may have acted or reacted that may have caused more trouble. I am not saying that if you get mugged it's your fault. But I am saying that it helps to know what you were doing in a bad neighbor at night to begin with. So that's thing one. Know your self.
And thing two (on a potential list of, oh say, a hundred things), is to forgive yourself. Lots of times we are driven by fear, or by beliefs and feelings that are not necessarily facts, or by the unconscious reflex of protecting ourselves from something. We usually are not evil seeking. Self forgiveness is the light at the end of the tunnel.
And thing three, when you can't have a do-over, and you can't make an amend, is to practice kindness. I pretty much think that when someone is depressed, upset, hurting, lost, angry, there is not really an inclination to go be charitable. In fact, we usually want to be taken care of in some protective and comforting way. Generosity to the universe is not usually on list of things to do.
But that's what I think. I think that it helps to give. I could say when all else fails, and when you least feel like it. Give. Give something, do something, kind for someone, somewhere. And maybe even before all else fails.
It's like forcing yourself to whisper when you feel like yelling. Not that I don't think that you can yell safely when you need to. But sometimes a trip out of self, and into the realm of kindness can go along way toward soothing a bruised soul. Doesn't mean the kindness can't be to your self as well. Definitely. But the universe needs you too.
And it comes back at you eventually. Try it, you'll see.