Sunday, January 9, 2011

Epiphany Sunday musings on interpersonal relationships

I don't have to prove that I'm right. I don't have to take what someone says personally. I know that I do the best I can and that it's usually enough. Someone who criticizes hasn't lived my life, hasn't seen my morning frenzy or the afternoon meltdown, doesn't know the agonizing I do over the details, and that's okay. I don't owe that explanation to anyone. Someone who offers only criticism comes not just empty-handed, but as a vacuum to diminish others' joy because they have none of their own.

I have been struck by how much we rationalize and excuse our own actions but don't extend nearly the same benefit of a doubt to those around us, including those who should be closest to us. I have seen how starting with defensiveness only leads to more defensiveness, and no one gets heard. I have witnessed some passive-agressive behavior that leaves everyone involved dizzy and asking "wait, what was that?".

I try to be real and visibly imperfect and to serve with love and grace. I fail a lot, too. I recently thought of a 3rd phrase in my mantra with my children. I had "kind words and loving actions", but I've added, "and gracious attitudes". It's as much a reminder for myself as for my children.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is like my own personal unconscious application of John 8:36. I'm free to not worry about what people think, and it's a good feeling.