Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other.
There will always be people in life that treat us poorly, break our hearts, and think of no one but themselves. I'm quickly learning that is just a part of life. There is no avoiding it. The people-pleaser in me wishes no one ever had a single bad thing to say about me, but life doesn't really work that way.
Over the weekend, a few unpleasant things were said about me by someone I was once close with. Needless to say, I didn't handle it very well. Being self-critical is one thing I excel in, so hearing those negative thoughts reinforced by others is not a fun time. Thankfully, however, a friend of mine helped change my perspective on the situation.
Rather than allowing me to let my bitterness get the best of me, I was told to see what would happen if I practiced forgiveness instead. What if I said a little prayer for this person instead of talking badly behind their back and getting myself all worked up?
Although I didn't really want to at first, it was requested that I pray that this person was able to find peace that night and release some of their own animosity. At first I kind of laughed at the thought of that. It takes a really big person to set aside those feelings of resentment and find a way to feel empathy. If I'm being honest, in that moment the last thing I wanted to do was be a big person. I wanted revenge and was willing to stoop to that level.
With a whole lot of convincing, however, I did find the strength to do as my friend suggested and I prayed that the person with hurtful words could find peace. "You will thank me in the morning," were the words that convinced me to give it a shot. Not surprisingly, I set a new personal record for the number of thank you's given the next day.
When hurtful situations like this happen, I typically find myself down in the dumps for days, thinking I must have done something horrible to cause such harsh words. But the truth is, life is way too short to allow the opinions of others dictate my mood. Similar to many other aspects of recovery, the only person I need to worry about is myself.
For as long as I can remember, my dad has always reminded me to "turn the other cheek" in upsetting situations like this. Typically I roll my eyes and continue throwing myself a pity party, but maybe my old man has been onto something all these years (shhh don't tell him I said that).
Forgiveness is rarely my go-to reaction immediately following hurt feelings, but doing so may be the key to happiness. By blessing those who have hurt me, I am able to shift my focus and continue practicing healthy thoughts needed for my recovery.