Are you good at blending in with the crowd? Would you say you’re pretty normal? You might have the same hair color as your neighbor but there’s no such thing as “normal.”
Internal battle scars.
Who you are is an inside-out kinda thing. Just like no person has ever had the exact same features as another, no one has the same series of experiences that form a personality. Heartache and love, sickness and recovery, loss and gain…these are the puzzle pieces that create the bigger picture of who we are.
Some scars are unseen and it’s these unseen things that make it difficult to understand why people do strange things. The hard truth is that our world isn’t just filled with healthy, patriotic, rational, do-gooders.
Rain falls on the just and unjust, which means those who are “healthy” still share oxygen with those who are mentally or spiritually sick.
Who’s to blame?
So what do we do when trust is broken, kindness isn’t reciprocated, work isn’t rewarded, or the guilty go free? How can we find justice?
It’s natural to want to point the finger, whether it’s politics, religion, bad parenting or abuse. Who or what has been at the other end of your pointer finger?
Does blaming your parents make your character flaw go away? Does hating your abuser make your suffering disappear? Does punishing yourself get you back on the road of progress?
What I’m getting at is this: Blame (aka bitterness, guilt, shame, hate), placed on yourself or someone else, is like riding a stationary bike expecting it to take you somewhere.
Compassion and forgiveness are key
Synonyms for compassion include empathy, love, gentleness, mercy, tolerance, and kindness. I believe compassion is key to having peace when you don’t understand. If your first instinct is to practice empathy or mercy, you’ll be quick to have compassion for the unseen things that caused someone to say or do something you can’t explain.
You’ve probably read this on a bumper sticker somewhere but forgiveness isn’t something you do for someone else, it’s something you do for yourself. Forgiving someone (even yourself) does’t mean you’re letting them off the hook or accepting what they’ve done as okay. When you forgive someone, you’re choosing not to let their words or actions cause you pain anymore.
If you’re feeling pain, shame or bitterness, let go of your own understanding and take ownership over your inner peace. Think like Otis and, “Try a little tenderness.”