Friday, September 16, 2016
Just Get Over It Already!
A few years ago when I was still a stay-at-home mom, I was making one of my usual trips to the grocery store. It was probably my fourth time there that week, which was far from out of the ordinary. I parked, grabbed a cart from the corral, and proceeded to enter the store. If you’re like many busy people in this country, you’ll understand that I was in rush mode. I had so many things to do and a limited amount of time in which to do them. We’ll talk another time about how bad rush mode is for the body and mind. There was an elderly gentleman in front of me entering the store and, in my hurry, I accidentally hit the back of his ankle with my cart. The howl that emanated from that man’s very soul still haunts me to this day.
Of course, I profusely apologized. I felt horribly for hitting him. I was mortified. His response, in a loud, barking voice was, “I know you’re sorry!” I immediately took offense. How dare this man yell at me! Can’t he see that I’m sorry? Can’t he see how sincere my apology is? Why is he being so mean? I stormed off and left him leaning against the wall in the vestibule and never thought about him again. Until now.
You see, I had hurt him. And even though I apologized and my apology was sincere, that didn’t take away his pain. He was still hurting from my actions, unintentional though they were. He was still feeling the sting of seventy-pounds of steel smashing into his Achilles tendon, and he wasn't yet in a place to be all warm and fuzzy with me. He wasn’t saying, “I don’t accept your apology.” He was saying, “Give me minute. This still hurts.”
If you’re wondering why someone you’ve wronged is not yet over it, you have to give them a chance to stop feeling the pain. Sometimes what seems like a superficial transgression, turns out to inflict a much deeper wound. It might be over for you, but they’re still feeling the sting. They probably have already accepted your apology. They might not feel any hostility or ill-will for you. But it still hurts.
Give them a minute…even if that “minute” turns into several months or years.
You have no right to tell someone how pain affects them. You have no right to expect them to “get over it” on your timetable. We all experience life differently. We all handle triumphs and tragedies differently. The way I process information is different than the way you process information. Do you know why? Because I’m not you. Because you’re not me. We’re as different as night and day and those differences should be celebrated. They should be cultivated. We should allow someone the space to hurt as well as to heal and to expect the same courtesy in return.
Give them a minute, will you?
Until next time,
Feed on love; subsist on peace.