How To Decide If Someone In Your Life Is Worth Reconciling With
Springtime symbolizes letting go, and the beautiful process of rebirth/renewal. It's a season that promises the creation of growth, new beginnings, and hope. As I began to reflect on all of the amazing possibilities of Spring, I also thought about what it is that I need to clear out of my own life; in order to bring forth this vibrant energy.
As I was doing research on the happenings of this month, I discovered that April 2nd was National Reconciliation Day. I never even knew this was a thing, but apparently many parts of the world have a specific day or days where they observe this as a way to repair relationships that have been fractured for whatever reason. This day serves as a reminder that some friendships or relationships may benefit from a second chance or a fresh start. We all know that it's not that simple and that some connections have fallen apart for reasons far more complicated than a misunderstanding, but it's up to you to discern which ones merit the extra effort and attention. The act of breaking the ice to even be open to a discussion requires humility, open-mindedness, and of course making peace with the fact that you may not get the outcome that you had hoped for. The purpose of this day is to encourage all of us to try to tie up any loose ends and clear up any misunderstandings about those with who we have strained interactions. While forgiveness is not the sole purpose of the national holiday, it is a conversation starter that can help facilitate healing.
Being the deep thinker that I am, I pondered long and hard about what reconciliation means to me, and whether or not there were any individuals that I needed to make amends with and why. Before we unpack this any further, let me break this word down for you real quick, to provide context for why you would even have the audacity to revive a relationship that you swore up and down you were over and didn't need saving.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, (noun), reconciliation is an end to a disagreement or conflict with somebody and the start of a good relationship again, and/or the process of making it possible for two different ideas, facts, etc. to exist together without being opposed to each other. Some other definitions include the restoration of friendly relations, the action of making one view or belief compatible with another, and harmonization. In other words, in order for there to be any type of resolve between two or more parties, they have to be in agreement that the bond is worth salvaging. It's impossible for a connection to be brought back together if the conflicting sides are not on one accord.
When it comes to deciding if you should entertain the idea of attempting to patch things up with someone in your life, here are a few things you should think about:
The first step is to understand that not everyone wants the same things and to accept that sometimes it's too late to make amends with someone, but you should always shoot your shot just in case so that you know that you did everything you could do to make it work. People will not always give us the closure that we desire, so it's important that you are not attached to a particular end result because that will only lead to more confusion, frustration, and embarrassment. Acknowledge and be honest about your true feelings to yourself first, and confront any uneasiness that you may have.
What feelings come up for you when you think of their absence from your life; is it peace, bitterness, or regret?
How does your mind, body, or spirit feel when you think about their presence?
After you've gotten clear about your own feelings, the second step is to reach out to them in the form of a text, call, or a letter requesting to speak openly with them about what you've discovered and to see if they feel the same way. But, only do so, if you feel that this person is in alignment with who you are now, and where you are headed, and you genuinely desire to continue sharing time and energy with them. If you get the sense that they can hold space for you, take the risk and be vulnerable about your real emotions.
Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to make the first move, and it makes it easier for the other individual to be receptive and be transparent about how things are from their perspective. A lot of times people make assumptions or jump to conclusions without talking about it beforehand, and then when you finally get the chance to bring those things up in conversation; you realize that you had the wrong idea about what really happened. Every so often, it is our own projections that prevent us from seeing the bigger picture, and when we can't get outside of ourselves and our thinking, we can unintentionally ruin a good thing.
In my experience, there have been instances where I have prematurely said something out of anger or in the heat of the moment, just to find out later that I acted from a place of insecurity. There's nothing worse than being loud, and wrong. I used to let my ego take the front seat, but now I can act from a mature place and admit when I messed up. Apologies don't always mean that things can go back to the way that it was, but it can help release some of the tension and disappointment felt from the person on the receiving end.
The third step is to create boundaries. Once there has been some sort of discord, you have to set limits because the terms and conditions have changed. You both have to draw a line for where the relationship can go, and be upfront about what it is that you will and will not accept. It may be uncomfortable or awkward, but that is the only way that you can ensure that the connection between you and the other person is honored and respected. Being able to communicate what that looks like for you and them is an important action to take because it holds you both accountable. It is like a contract between you two that explicitly tells each of you how you want to be treated, and establishes what a healthy relationship should look, and feel like.
The fourth step is to let things happen organically and allow time to tell whether or not the reunion will be short-lived or long-term. This is not the time to get your hopes up, and start getting matching tats and friendship bracelets; take it slow and live in the moment. Trust and reassurance will have to be rebuilt and that requires patience and consistency. In order to feel safe and secure with one another, you have to create an opportunity for you both to follow through and be accountable for your actions and the commitment that you made. Keep the past in the past, and judge each other based on what happens now, not on what happened before. Moving forward in a good headspace is key.
The fifth and last step is to work towards forgiveness. Reconciliation is not synonymous with forgiveness. Just because you exchange war stories about what went down that lead to the dissolve of that friendship/relationship doesn't change or erase what happened, but it can help you to achieve a higher level of consciousness that puts you on the path towards forgiveness. When you reconcile with someone it is a mutual decision, but forgiveness is personal; it's a solo act. True forgiveness is essentially a gift that you give to yourself, where you find peace and freedom from the mental and emotional bondage that you've unfortunately held onto for so long. It gives you a renewed spirit that opens doors for more blessings and abundance to enter into your life.
In this era of cancel culture, let's decide to think differently about how we show up for ourselves and for the people in our lives. Believe it or not, there are some people who truly are rare and those types of people are hard to come by; not everyone is replaceable. Before you are quick to call it quits with someone you fell out with for whatever reason, reevaluate his/her worthiness of being in your ecosystem. Be sure that they are good for your mental health, and that they add to your well-being.