'J. has a few issues he would like to speak with you about.'
The fact that my baby was using a spokesperson caught my attention.
'Grievance No. 1: J does not like the way you spoke to him before you left for work.'
I rolled my eyes. He hid behind his dad and peeked at me from around his leg.
'Grievance No. 2: J says that you would not allow him to get water while you were teaching.'
Really? I opened my mouth to defend myself, but The Spokesperson continued.
'Grievance No. 3: J does not like what we are having for dinner. But he'll just have to deal with that.'
Wait...what? The Sire does not like what we are having for dinner? Seriously?
Okay, so he doesn't like the fact that I yelled at him (and his sister)--because they were going to make me late for my class. And I did let him have water--I just told him he couldn't run across the front of the class where I was teaching fifteen times to get it. I felt totally justified in the way I had acted. Even so, I kinda-sorta apologized and gave him a hug. 'Do you forgive me?' I asked sweetly, knowing that he had to because he didn't have any reason to be mad in the first place. He looked up at me, eyebrows furrowed, mouth all pouty, eyes angry. And then he shook his head NO.
Um. Excuse me? You are going to stay mad even though I apologized when I didn't even have to?
Clearly, there was one of three things going on here:
A) Maybe he could sense that I wasn't being entirely sincere.
B) Maybe he really was that angry and needed a bit to cool off.
C) Maybe he was being completely unreasonable.
(I went with C last night).
I've been in his shoes before. Grievously offended, not ready to forgive, holding on to anger far longer than is necessary or healthy. Probably being completely unreasonable.
We all have those moments where we'll hold onto what's bothering us rather than forgive because forgiving might indicate that we're okay with the way someone treated us. That they were not wrong. That they can do it again.
I stay mad because I want people to know they can't treat me that way, that it's not okay, that I'm standing up for myself and what that person did was NOT OK. But in holding on to my anger, I've found that it eats away at my happiness. What is supposed to bring redemption to the situation only brings sadness. And eventually that sadness turns into resentment, depression and a heaviness of heart that not even a pill can fix. (I know this because I have been in precisely this situation, and Zoloft only masked my depression, it didn't fix it.)
"Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life."
(Mayo Clinic Staff)
Later on, he came to me, sat down and gave me the biggest hug ever. I asked him if he was ready to forgive me, and he nodded his head yes and leaned his head on my shoulder.
Peace was written all over his face, telling me what I needed to know.
No spokesperson needed.