It’s Saturday and you wake up to a beautiful sunny morning. You’re looking forward to an unplanned day filled with endless possibilities. You’re happy and rested. Suddenly out of left field you’re smacked with a curve ball on the side of your head with a rant of accusations by a frustrated loved one. All before stepping out of bed.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Acceptance | One of the Hardest Things to Do. And I asked myself ‘Where do you draw the line between accepting the person without condoning their ‘off the handle’ behavior?’ Accepting them for who they are does not mean you have to agree with their behavior. In fact, tough love will require you to have the courage to confront. The key factor to confrontation is that your intentions need to come from a place of love and the well being for that person rather than from a place of anger or spite. And even with your best intentions, it may still be received with defensiveness, anger, resistance, or withdrawal.
It’s natural for us to protect ourselves and take the path of the least resistant and remain silent. But overtime, your inner fuming and staying bitter towards them will harm you. Never make the assumption they’ll pick up on your silent cues and magically put the pieces together, or that they’ll feel remorseful for their actions and take the first step towards reconciliation. They’re not mind readers, they can see you’re upset but they won’t necessarily know why you’re upset. Plus they’re still probably upset themselves and wondering why you haven’t figured it out. This will only create more distance between the both of you and at this point, become a battle of wills. So take the initiative to clearly and objectively communicate what you’re seeing, experiencing and feeling.
It’s also good to keep in mind, that people’s frustrations usually stem out of their own personal issues, inner hurts or past woundings. So it’s not you, your actions or words that necessarily trigger them but a hurt, resentment, bitterness that might already be within their hearts. But if they’re not aware of this, they’ll think it’s you and blame you for how they’re feeling. With this in mind, it’s easier to be patient with them as you walk beside them in their journey.
Since these hurricane days come when you least expect it, it’s emotionally difficult to brace for it. Loving the person without condoning their poor behavior is very hard to practice. But it’s possible with compassion, courage, love and truth. After all you’ve said and done, ultimately it’s up to them to choose what they want to do with it. My hope is that they’ll see the love behind your words, take responsibility for their feelings and move toward healthy steps for improvement.
© 2012 Susie Lee