Every now and then, someone will inform me of their previous or current perception of me, and it will involve a one-sided conflict. My initial response is normally laughter. Partly because I’m awkward (lol) but also because of the ridiculousness of choosing to hold on to an imaginary beef for however many years.
I heard Myleik Teele say in one of her podcasts, “If we didn’t talk about it, we don’t have a problem!” I wholeheartedly align with this. Now, I’m a firm believer in picking my battles. Which means, there are certain issues that I may have with a person that I will never bring to them. Sometimes even though I have a problem with someone else, it’s still more of a ME issue. And thus, I need to check MYSELF. But please know, if I have an issue and it’s really causing distress, I will address it.
The people closest to me have a greater ability to hurt me. And so, typically these types of conversations are constrained to my closest relationships. And not that it’s never necessary to confront others. It’s just easier for me to view other situations with more objectivity and grace.
I’ll never forget a chance run-in I had with a girl (we’ll call her Monica) I’d previously known from Atlanta. I was sitting at a Miami restaurant having lunch alone. Monica walked by and happened to turn to her right and immediately became disgusted when she saw me. She harshly exclaimed “I hate that B^!*%” to the girl she was with. Again, in my awkwardness I bust out laughing. It was just the silliest thing to me.
Ok here’s the deal with Monica…
Monica was the friend of a friend’s friend. Hope I didn’t lose you already (lol). My interactions with Monica were extremely limited. Let me also add, at the point in my life where I was exposed to Monica, I had sooooo much of my own crap going on, there’s really not much I can tell you about her. Monica and I happened to end up dating the same guy, at the same time. Since I was a brazen one back in my hay day, once I found out, I didn’t care. I figured she wasn’t my friend so there was no issue AND I was super content with the dynamic I had with dude so, “may the best woman win!” SO TERRIBLE!
Here’s the thing…I never once had an ill thought of Monica. It just was, what it was. Welp, guess what? Monica was apparently not very fond of me.
Fast forward, had to be four or five years later, I see Monica in Miami and she’s clearly still harboring this resentment. I laughed at her statement out of utter shock. I couldn’t believe that so little exposure to me and this situation with dude would breed such intense emotion. Like, I really wanted to have a heart to heart with her to understand why she was choosing to hold on to these ill feelings. I mean because, let’s be honest…in the grand scheme of things, I really was an insignificant factor in whatever she had going on back then. Certainly not worthy of maintaining resentment for so many years.
Monica may very well have had a valid reason to dislike me. I have no desire to challenge that. And yet, I’m willing to bet we’ve both grown and matured quite a bit since those days. It benefits neither one of us to hold on to old situations and resentments. It is my belief that this willingness to keep tabs of all perceived offenses robs us greatly of having true peace and joy.
I’ve thought about Monica quite a bit since that run-in and have prayed that she will get to a point where she releases her trivial burdens and is able to allow the Lord into her heart to heal it.
My prayer for us all, is that we can learn to trust the Lord to right the wrongs of others. We live in a broken world comprised of flawed human beings. Which means there is no escaping getting snubbed and hurt. This much we can expect. But there’s a way to exist authentically and joyfully whilst braving this harsh reality. Trust God. Address what makes sense to address. And release everything else.
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