You’ve talked (and listened) to the point of exhaustion, and you’ve both agreed to the second chance concept (for a quick reminder, click here). You’re ready for a fresh start, but there’s a nagging doubt in the back of your mind as to whether it will really work.
Let’s face it, forgiveness is not easy. It’s a conscious choice, day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment. It’s a commitment, that’s for sure. And it has three clear benefits:
- Call me an optimist, but I have an inherent belief that people can actually change, but only when it’s their own choice. If you’re receiving specific messages that change is happening, you’re on the path to forgiveness.
- Once you’re on that path, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel happier. A burden will have been lifted off your shoulders and you will be free to move forward.
- You’re exercising your emotional intelligence muscles with empathy. If the situation was reversed, wouldn’t YOU like to be forgiven?
On the other hand, sometimes you just have to decide to get off the roller coaster and determine, finally, that enough is enough. If you’ve ever been on that ride, it’s not exactly fun. In fact, it’s completely exhausting to allow your emotions to run amok, and it’s natural to blame the other person. It’s a lot easier than taking responsibility for your own choices and the consequences. You can choose to stay on the roller coaster and live through the emotional ups and downs, or you can choose to get off the ride. It took me many months to make that choice in my own life, and once I finally did, it was more liberating than I ever could have imagined.
The image of being on a roller coaster of emotions makes me think of the end of the classic movie, “Parenthood,” when Mary Steenburgen’s character says, “. . . but I LIKE being on the roller coaster.” If you’re thinking that right now, I’d like to remind you that the ride is fun only when we, ourselves, are choosing to get on it. If someone else is emotionally forcing you to get on the ride, it’s not fun anymore, is it?
So, when is enough enough?
- When you’re dealing with a person who’s displaying a pattern of negative behavior, as opposed to an isolated incident. What constitutes a pattern? I’m going to say more than one incident.
- When he/she refuses to get help, whether for an addiction, or for anger management.
- When he/she insists that change is possible, but you know in your heart that it isn’t.
- When those closest to you are gently telling you to face the facts.
If you choose to end the relationship, please take three more minutes to gain a bit of insight. (Click here: Before You Ride Off Into The Sunset.)
Whether you’ve decided to forgive or you’ve decided that enough is enough, please be accountable to yourself first. Tell yourself the truth in the kindest way possible. Then reward yourself for moving on.