Relationships are messy because people are messy. We are emotional beings with a lifetime of emotional baggage.
When we are angry with a spouse, family member, or close friend, we are rarely fighting about what we are fighting about. Sometimes the intensity of our fights is fueled by the emotions from previous fights or events that have shaken our confidence, broken our trust, made us feel insignificant and unheard. Unresolved issues serve no one because the emotions from the unresolved issues lie smoldering just beneath the surface, threatening to flame anew at the slightest provocation.
The actions and words of others can cut like a knife through our souls. If we are stung by the words or actions of others, we owe it to ourselves and the others involved to put the cards on the table, so to speak. This is not a license to pick up knives and plunge them into the souls of those whose words and actions caused us pain. Rather, honestly talking with one another gives us a chance to clear the air, see situations from the perspective of others, find avenues of compromise. I believe every issue can be resolved, that we can heal together, and move on stronger than before. But, both parties must commit to working toward a resolution, commit to actively listening to the other, commit to healing together.
Wounds of the soul are much like physical wounds. Some are superficial, others much deeper. Wounds can get infected, and when they do, cleaning out the wounds is important to the healing process. The dead tissue must be removed, the infection eradicated. Deep wounds require ongoing treatment, time to heal, time for the tissues to mend. When we suffer physical wounds we take the necessary steps to heal and restore the wounded tissues. Likewise, we need to treat emotional wounds, wounds of the soul, in much the same way. Honestly communicating with another, using “I” statements instead of accusatory statements. “When (fill in the blank) happened, it made me feel….” is a good place to start.
There are times when resolution is not possible, when one or both does not want to work toward resolution. Sadly, what is lost is a shared history, shared experiences and memories, a shared life of love, laughter, and triumph over challenges and trials. I am not advocating for those in abusive relationships to stay together. Rather, I am advocating for those whose relationships have been tarnished. Those who have gotten off the shared path and chosen separate roads. Those who, through commitment to mutual honesty and understanding, can meet at the fork in the road and travel on as one again…..