If you want to have great relationships, one of the greatest things you can do is repair the damage you do in the relationships you have. The reason this is helpful is because you can control that. You can control the changes you make and that doesn’t require anyone else. I hope this is useful for you especially in your relationships with family and friends.
Repairing the damage you do helps you to feel good about yourself. It helps your relationships to be healthy. For example, last night when my wife reacted a certain way, I got a bit sassy and intolerant with her. I didn’t say much but an attitude when you’re married can be communicated. My wife could see I wasn’t happy with her and she apologized a couple of times. I apologized for being so intolerant of what she said. I apologized for the damage that I did. I apologized for putting a wall up and going into my shell and getting quiet and resentful.
It was easier because she apologized first. You can’t condition this on the other person apologizing first, that is not repairing the damage. Saying that the other person needs to apologize first is letting the damage go on. You want to repair damages as soon as possible. When you say something rude, the easiest time to fix it is immediately. I don’t say many rude things anymore and I’m grateful every time I say something rude and I immediately see that I say something rude and I apologize.
It’s about understanding the other person’s point of view and seeing the damage you did to them. For example, I walked into a post office the other day and I was irritable. I gave the intent that I was irritable and didn’t say much. When the lady walked over I could see what I’d done. I was rude, I walked in aggravated and communicated that aggravation. I could see that I came in annoyed and uncooperative. I apologized for being rude and she accepted my apology. I walked out of there feeling better; I was able to move on. Most of my life I would blast through my whole day like that, never able to apologize unless I was just unbelievable. If you can see the damage you’re doing in your relationships and then repair it, then you have the chance to not do it at all.
The first step in repairing your relationships is seeing it and noticing when you’ve done something wrong. For example, when I’m gaming with my friends is the hardest time. I often make rude comments and it doesn’t matter what the other person did. It doesn’t matter at all what the other person says. It’s how I react to them that’s important. They want me to be the best I can at the game. They want to have fun. They want to work together. Sometimes, they say things like criticizing my choices or how I play the game. If I’m in the right place, I can see if they communicated out of love or out of their own pain and frustration. When I react with something negative, that’s damage. It’s hurtful, rude and not a loving thing to say. It’s better to not say anything than to have a negative comment. It’s helpful to see when I’ve made those negative comments and fix them.
Joseph does all these videos on YouTube. I record them and Joseph puts them up. Joseph is my vice president with the company. He does all these essentials with the business aside from actually doing the video. Joseph came to visit after knowing him for eight years on Xbox and him listening to me complain and be a jerk. On his visit, we were playing a game together and doing something as a team and I thought we needed everyone there. Everyone except Joseph died, he was in another spot in the level. I said something along the lines of “thanks for screwing the whole team up by not being here when we needed you.” The nice thing was it didn’t take long to see that it was a damaging comment.
It doesn’t matter at all what he did. He’s welcome to be his own person, to exist on his own. The moment I try to justify it all I’m doing is justifying me mistreating a friend. If he gave me crap for the rest of our lives, he wouldn’t break even with all the crap I gave him. The miracle is that I noticed I did that and instead of justifying it, I looked at what I did from his point of view. He came to visit me, he came a long way, and he doesn’t play the game as much as I play. He is good at League of Legends so he’s also good at Heroes of the Storm. Maybe he made a mistake, but that doesn’t matter. What did matter is that I hit him with a well aimed critical comment of his performance. He’s already being hard on himself because he went off on his own and I laid the hammer down right on top of him. He didn’t do anything to provoke it, he was just playing the game the best he could. It didn’t take me long to realize I did something rude and apologize for it. He said it was fine and not that big of a deal, but I felt better after that. We collectively continued getting along.
When you do something like that it’s poison. You’ve poured poison into your relationship. If you can go and try to take out as much of it as possible and trust the other person to handle whatever is theirs to deal with. When you have a relationship with your family, this is important. I’m grateful to see that I have the chance to fix the damage I do today and it’s important to notice what I’ve done. What you might notice is there’s a tendency to focus on other people in relationships. Even talking like that in the general term, I start feeling this poison coming up. I start feeling my general sense of purity slipping away. I start feeling like I’m slipping away. You can’t stop until you see where you’re doing it.
You can’t control other people. You can try and manipulate other people and try to put people into positions. Good people will often be open to being manipulated. As a better driver who’s not racing around and cutting in and out of cars, I’m manipulated by other drivers the same way I used to manipulate other drivers. Someone driving fast can cut in front of me and force me to slot down some. They can tailgate me to encourage me to speed up a little bit. Good people will allow you to manipulate them a little bit.
What feels like control is a good person making space for your inconsideration. I’ve had a lot of people – my family and friends – make a lot of space for me to be rude and a jerk. By space I mean they didn’t come back in and punch me in the face. They let me be rude, let me be a jerk, and just let it go.
If you focus on what you’re doing, you have the opportunity to fix anything you do in your relationships. You have to see you’re doing the damage to fix it. I’m lucky I’ve had a great relationship with my wife that’s showed me this. It’s so obvious right away when I do damage in my relationship with my wife. We have this pure, happy state and the only thing I can do anything about is when I do damage. If my wife does damage, if she says something rude to me and I make space for it, I don’t react. Then it’s just up to her to deal with and me to just be loving.
If I make space for the comment to just go, she will she the damage she’s just done. She will apologize on her own because she’s feeling bad about it. This happens a lot of times in our relationship. I’ll say something inconsiderate often. I’m a little selfish and I’ll say something, but she won’t react to it. I will apologize and ask what I can do to be more thoughtful or turn things around.
You’ve got to see where you’re being selfish and where you’re poisoning it first. Once you do then you can go fix it. You can fix it without the expectation the other person will fix it. If you have a relationship that’s going downhill and you both have been a jerk to each other. You can fix what you’ve done by apologizing. You don’t have to put the expectation on them that they are going to respond in a way that’s appropriate.
If they’re breaking up with you, you can at least feel better about what you did. They may not want to get back with you anymore. They may have had enough of you and that may be the best for both of you. You can at least feel better about what you did. I know I’ve had some bad breakups before. The ones that were the worst were the ones where I expected something of the other person like getting back with me after I apologized.
When I acted respectful of the other person, the break up was a lot better for me. All I can control is me. If another person takes what you’ve done badly, that’s up to them. You’ve got to be able to see it from their point of view to get perspective. When you’re aggravated and drop your aggravation on everyone else, that’s your problem. If you are in a kind, loving place and doing your best and someone else flips out, that’s not up to you. You don’t have to apologize for other people’s problems as long as you came from a place of love and understanding. Usually that’s a peaceful place where you’re mostly listening.
Usually the main way I do something wrong is to say something or to get an attitude which is communicated non-verbally. If I get an attitude, you can see it. I don’t have to say anything, you can see it. The more sensitive you are you can read other people like a book. If you really want to help other people, it helps to see what you’re doing yourself. I’m grateful to have the chance to share this with you today because it’s useful for me. I pray that I repair the damage I do in my relationships especially today. I pray to see the damage I do so I have the chance to repair it. I pray that you have the same opportunity today to see the damage you do in your relationships and do your best to fix it so that you can repair damage yourself. Other people have to take care of themselves the same way that you have to take care of yourself. If you feel good about what you’ve done and are loving in your relationships, then you can go to sleep at night without worrying about the things you said.
You can accept that you’re doing your best. You’re loving, you’re trying, and you can accept that other people are doing their best too. They’re a person just like you and they’re trying. You can accept that sometimes their trying might not live up to your expectations and they your trying might not live up to your expectations. As long as you can see the damage that’s happening and fix it along the way, then you have a chance for a better life that’s free from the misery and suffering that comes from negativity in our closest relationships. Thank you for reading this. I’m honored you’re here. I hope you have a great day today.