Remember what Maya Angelou said? “When someone shows you how they feel, believe them the first time.”
But what if you’re the one who did the injury? What if you’re the person who hurt your partner in marriage, your close friend, a colleague or worse yet, someone you barely know? How do you repair the relationship and earn back the trust you broke?
1. Think About What Happened
- What was going on for you when you said or did what you did?
- How do you think the other person felt?
- How do you think the relationship will be damaged?
- How can you repair the relationship?
2. Love Yourself Enough To Not Let It Become All About You
When I’ve made a mistake in a relationship and hurt someone I love, I feel simply awful. -Really awful. Don’t you? The temptation to hide away in shame rather than face what has happened is strong.
And yet – We know the truth. The truth is we all make mistakes. The truth is one time it could be about me hurting Bob. The next time it could be about Bob hurting me. After over 27 years of marriage – that’s a guarantee we have come to count on. We are going to hurt each other.
If we are to Boldly Love one another, we are going to risk hurting others and risk being hurt by others.
Hurting and being hurt is part of the beauty of a technicolor dance. Oh – We could give into the temptation to not risk. We could hide away in a monochromatic relationship that never risks. But – What’s the fun in that?
In fact, the monochromatic relationships usually die a slow and painful death. Sort of like the Marriage of the Living Zombies. When a couple ceases to argue – ceases to have conflict -They are dying a slow death.
Brené Brown, Ph.D., researcher and storyteller, has said, “You’re imperfect. You are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Don’t go into hiding when you’ve hurt someone. Don’t take on the shame. You and I are human. We fall. We get back up. We learn. We grow.
3. Take Ownership And Talk To The Person
- Go to the person you hurt. – Don’t wait another day. Go to the person as soon as possible and begin the process.
- Let them know what you believe you have done or said that hurt them. – Be specific. Let them know how you believe you blew it.
- Listen to them. – Listen to how they felt. Listen to their perspective. Just listen to them. Listen with understanding.
4. Don’t Just Say, “I’m sorry.” -Do I’m Sorry.
Take time to discover how to not repeat the behavior or statement again. Even if you’ve fallen 7 times. Keep getting up and keep learning how to do it differently.
Your loved one will appreciate your effort. It will matter and contribute to the Beautiful Technicolor Dance.
5. And the others? The ones who won’t give you another chance?
Pray for them. Give them time. Give them space. Keep your heart open to forgiving them for not forgiving you now. Remember, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” – Proverbs 17:9. Grieve the loss of the friendship for a time.
It’s hard. It truly is. I know. But – Remember – Making mistakes and hurting each other only means you are human.
You are still worthy of love and belonging.
If the above has been encouraging to you, feel free to leave a comment. Your comments may encourage others in this wild, wonderful, messy Technicolor Relationship Dance.
The above isn’t meant to be professional counseling. It is simply good sound advice from one messy human to another. If you would like to sort through your mistakes with a professional counselor, call me. We’ll talk and decide if I’m a good fit for you. If I’m not, I can refer you to some wonderful colleagues.
I’m located in between Grass Valley and Auburn, California. You can call me at 530-268-3558 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org