Diamonds in the Dung
OK, I can be intense. I know that. But sometimes my passion gets me in trouble when I let it get out of hand and run roughshod over people or attempt to “win” in a discussion by having the last word. I recently did both in one evening. At least I didn’t engage in an ad hominem attack and make it perfect trifecta.
Predictably, someone took me to task the following morning in a rather scathing text message. It was complete with impugned motives, personal attack and even some name calling capped off with distancing from our personal relationship for the foreseeable future. Problem was there was also a lot of truth in their message. The person identified three areas of fault, the two mentioned above and some self-indulgent behavior on my part for good measure. I was nailed.
At this point I had two options, well, three. I could just ignore the text, brush it off and make it out to be more about the person sending it than my words and actions. But there was the matter about them being right about my behavior. So I had to address it.
I could have focused on what was wrong with the way they approached the matter and fired back about them responding in anger and not love blah, blah, blah. But this would mean deflecting my own fault by casting aspersions on their motives and methods. And again, there was the annoying fact that they were right.
On top of all this, my own conscience had been poking me since I left the night before. The person was right and I knew it in my bones. There was nothing for it but acknowledge my guilt, apologize and ask for forgiveness for my words and actions; the third option, owning up and making amends, which I promptly did and not just to this individual but to everyone present in a second group text. This, of course, is the application of Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
I’d love to be able to relate that all is healed and good as new but that’s not how real life works. Sometimes we wound people badly enough that it takes a while for relationships to be restored if they ever really are. My written amends will need to be followed up with a living amends i.e. changed behavior. There is still no guarantee that this friendship will be restored but if I undertake the right actions for the right reasons at the very least I will become a better person and further incidents of this kind may be avoided in the future.
Which brings me round again to the title of this post, Diamonds in the Dung. Very often when we screw up those around us will respond, as they should, but not often in the way they should. They will be filled with anger and pain and this will come through in whatever medium they choose to communicate with us. Our part is to receive and understand the anger and pain for what they are without judgement and focus on the truths about us they are highlighting. This is far easier to describe than to do but we must if we are to have any hope of restoring the relationship and effecting growth in ourselves. Sometimes you have to sort through the Dung to find the Diamonds.
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