After a long conversation, our relationship was restored as I extended the same forgiveness and grace that I hope to receive when I fail, but not before I made it clear that boundaries were crossed and that it shouldn’t happen again. After this incident, I have a feeling, in fact, I know our relationship will be better than it’s ever been. All because, instead of sweeping the issue under the rug, I chose to face it and establish much needed boundaries that should make our relationship stronger and healthier.
“Perception is reality.”
This quote, commonly attributed to late American political consultant and adviser Lee Atwater, together with my recent experience, were strongly in my mind when I was asked for advice regarding a strained relationship recently. After talking to both sides, I was able to clearly see how one’s perception had become the other person’s reality, driving a deep wedge between two people who dearly love each other, but chose to part ways, other than facing the elephant in the room. I can’t help but wonder how many relationships end every day, simply because people chose the seemingly easy road, closing doors and shutting people out of their lives, instead of choosing to openly hear the other side.
Our perception is our reality, indeed, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is someone else’s reality. There’s no question that certain relationships are toxic and need to end. But I also believe that, in many instances, family relations would be stronger and friendships would be more lasting, if only we would take our time to listen to the other side, setting our hurts aside for a minute, and putting ourselves in their shoes.
Indeed, it takes bravery and strength to hear those who hurt us with empathy, forgive them, set our boundaries, and give them another chance. But I believe it is not only the right thing to do, I believe it’s the only way to have peace, joy and relationships that last a lifetime.