It’s inevitable. People will disapprove of us at times. What is the secret to tolerating this uncomfortable feeling in order to stay true to ourselves?
Just because your voice doesn’t matter to one human being (or even several), doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Here’s how to make it count!
Let’s pretend for a minute that your relationship is like a game of tennis. Can you visualize you and your partner on the tennis court? The game has just begun, and the ball is going back and forth. Back and forth.
It’s like my husband spent our marriage throwing gasoline all over our home. Nobody could see it, but I could smell the fumes. They threatened to suffocate me. I knew that if I lit a match to illuminate the truth about the gasoline, I would burn our home down. I was warned, in so many words, never to light that match.
Can you have a healthy relationship where there is lying, covering up, pretending, overlooking, and ignoring? Does that foster intimacy? Of course not. Healthy relationships are grown in the soil of vulnerability and safety. When two people are open and honest, they can get close and experience authentic acceptance and love. Anything less is dysfunctional in some way.
Someone who is truly sorry will not make excuses, blame you or something else, rationalize their behavior, or justify what they did. If a person is doing any of those things, they are not sorry. Period.
Reconciliation is not a requirement. It’s the desired outcome, but it can only truly take place when four things have happened.
We all have difficult people in our lives. We’re probably related to one or two. Maybe they live under our roof. God calls us to love, but love doesn’t always look like chocolate pudding and red hearts. Sometimes it looks like broccoli and liver.
A reader asks, “I want to be loving and gentle. But how do you do that and yet also not let yourself be manipulated or taken advantage of?”
Let’s talk about that.
Part of growing up into your full stature of healthy emotional adulthood involves this important work of setting boundaries.