We have good days and we have bad days. Days where we are more appropriate than others (or not appropriate at all). Moments where we wish we said something else or didn’t say anything at all.
But how many chances do you give to someone else who is more than frequently inappropriate, mean, disrespectful or takes advantage?
Fortunately, for me, I’ve been a pushover before. Confession: I, sometimes, still am. I’m fortunate because it’s been a good lesson for me. I chose to be pushover. No one made me. And I don’t feel pity for myself in any way for having been pushed over. Because of this, I understand giving more than one, two or five chances. I get it. I’m a sensitive, empathetic sap so I know the feeling and intention behind someone choosing (again) to make better choices i.e. be nice, kind, try to do better.
But, I also know the feeling of being stepped on over and over again by the same person I gave that chance to. I learned something years ago that gave me great perspective on whether I was being too forgiving with certain people and leaving the re-welcome door wide open each time. It was this: Before re-engaging with this person ask yourself, is this an event or a pattern?
For me, it made all of this very simple. I didn’t have to question anymore if I was too insensitive, too compassionate, mean or a door mat.
Was the lie an event or is this happening more than a couple of times?
Was this borrowing of money and not being able to pay back a one-time deal or have I now loaned this several times with no repayment?
Was the violation of privacy just this one time?
Was her outburst and name-calling so unlike her? Or does she repeat this every time she doesn’t get her way?
I now get frustrated when I witness people give too many chances. When I see someone get sucked into someone playing nice for a couple of weeks only to start name-calling the next week and go right back to playing nice when they need something again… it’s a clear cycle. It’s a pattern and it will most likely not change, especially if it’s being enabled by the constant re-welcomes and engagement.
Experiences have toughened me up and taught me to create good lines that I just won’t permit to be crossed. This doesn’t mean you can’t forgive. It just means that you have rules now in terms of engagement.
The whine: I believe in forgiveness. I believe there is good in people. But, dammit, I also believe that good people should honor themselves and not get stepped on!
Attention good peeps: Draw the line and respect yourself. You’re actually doing them a favor and giving them more of a chance to change than not.