In relationships, it’s so easy to play the blame game. He did this first. They did that. And maybe they did. Maybe you are right. But there is a difference between being right and being happy. Focusing on someone else’s guild or faults is just the ego’s way to keep us from looking at ourselves.

Recently, I went through a situation where I was doing a very awkward dance with a friend, trying to figure out how to best handle our damaged relationship. Should we speak? Should we not speak? Should we meet? Should we not? Should I reveal all my thoughts and feelings or just sit with my truth in silence. It was clunky and inelegant at best.

I thought that I only had peace left in my heart for this person and just wanted to begin to heal some of the damage that we had done (and I think in essence this was true.)
But when I reached out to her and she didn’t respond in the way that I would have liked, (ie-with a willingness and openness to communication) it triggered all of my stuff: my ego, my insecurities, my fears, and my pain.

Instead of standing there and realizing that we both were just doing our best to protect ourselves and still show up for the other, I felt hurt & defensive, angry and disappointed. And in those moments, regardless of what she was doing, it was I who abandoned the relationship. I balked when it didn’t come to me in the package that I imagined. I stood in judgment of her when I could have just seen she was struggling.

Her thoughts and actions are her karma. They are her journey. My journey, my challenge was to see where my limits were and to go beyond them: to love inspite of the places that terrify me. To see through someone else’s fearful places and remain steadfast.

I failed her and myself. Not in all moments, but in that one, and others like it. I lost my tether and I allowed myself to unravel. I knew better but I stopped standing in my truth. And it is in these moments that we need to fully focus on ourselves and how we could show up better in the situation.

For me, in this situation, I could have chosen not to be hurt or offended. (Yes, it IS a choice.) I knew that this person was in pain. I knew that this person was doing her best. What if I just didn’t take it personally? I could have chosen to feel more compassion instead of less. I could have seen that she was afraid instead of my knee jerk reaction of anger.

A Course in Miracles says that it is whatever we are not giving that can be lacking in any situation. This is the question that we need to constantly ask ourselves. What am I not giving here? How can I be more loving and less fearful? In this situation, what am I withholding? Am I being judgmental? Am I allowing them to be who they need to be in this moment? I am being compassionate and loving or am I being stingy with my love, giving it only as a reward for good behavior not just because the other person needs it in this moment, more than ever.

I can see for me, if I had been more enlightened, less concerned about the form of our relationship and correspondnce and about how I might appear, about how she might perceive my actions, that I could have just seen her reaction for what it was: her own fear. And then I could have loved more deeply. It may have changed my actual response only slightly but the essence would have changed completely. And my energy would not have been in the drama but in the peace…

The moments that get us, That really rattle our cages, – These are the moments that teach us the most. What do I believe? How do I behave when someone challenges these beliefs? It is in the moments that we are tempted to harden our hearts that we have the opportunity to soften and expand our hearts. How deeply can we look into the situation? How deeply can we see the truth about ourselves and our loved ones?

It is when we are tempted to flee that we must stay: stay with our feelings and perceptions and see where they lead us. This is when we can find the depth of love within us and remember that we are all doing the best that we can in every moment.

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