I have a friend who is great at letting things slide. People insult, criticize, or are rude to him and it doesn’t seem to bother him.
You probably know someone like this. It may be you.
People usually handle insults in this fashion for one of two reasons:
- You believe the relationship isn’t worth it or is beyond repair, so you’ve written off the offender.
- It’s someone you value in your life, so you bury the feelings out of fear or avoidance.
Yeah, yeah I know, you could be really laid back or forgiving, but everyone has limits.
#1, I understand. It’s something I wish I could do better. Some people just aren’t worth the hassle. We need not worry about these people and should try to remove them from our lives.
#2 seems ok on the surface, but is highly dangerous.
It’s damaging to you because buried feelings pile up and eat at us from the inside. They can turn into bitterness, resentment and anger.
Let it get too far, and this decaying pile of negative feelings manifests itself on the outside.
You could wind up as the ultimate the offender and deliberately or subconciously sabotage the relationship. All because you wanted to bury feelings from the initial offense.
No one wants that.
What to do?
If it’s a relationship you truly value, tell them what you really think. Don’t go too far and repay rudeness with rudeness, but dive in to the conflict head-on.
If you need to walk away for a while, don’t be afraid to have a second conversation.
And always keep in mind the possibility it may be you.
Remember, we’re talking about a valued relationship here, so summon up the courage and deal with it. Chances are, the other person cares enough to listen. He may even apologize.
What about forgiveness?
Because of my faith and what I believe, I certainly think it’s best to forgive.
But, forgiveness doesn’t come as a result of just burying and not addressing our own feelings. Buried things rot.
Real relationships need a high trust component. We need to be vulnerable. We need to be honest.
The closer we are to someone, the more honest and direct we should be able to be.
Letting it slide isn’t acceptable for real relationships. It’s damaging.
Don’t just let it slide with the important people in your life.
Update: The day after I originally published this post I stumbled on this perfect Proverb. Very fitting.