Listen, Learn, and Love - 3 Keys to Harmony

Dr. Joan's Advice

Date: 02/24/2013

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Be First to Forgive

Dear Forgiving Auntie:

You brought me to tears when I read about your niece who refuses to see you, or let you see her new baby. She is miffed with you ... really more than miffed. She resents what she views as an insulting remark you made about her way of life. I’ll not get into her chosen way of living in this response, but I will address it another time. Today I want to focus on the silence between the two of you.

What did you say to your niece that caused her to take such great umbrage? Whatever it was, she obviously interpreted your words to be hurtful toward her. But you believe that you had no such intent. Sometimes we speak so quickly that we fail to choose our words carefully. Could that have been what happened?

I know that you have phoned her to explain and apologize, but your niece will not speak civilly to you. In fact, she has told you not to call again and not to come to her apartment. On the occasion of that call, her words and tone were caustic and hurt you deeply.

Both of you are profoundly unhappy. But take heart. I know of one sure way to start the healing, and you’ve already done it - Forgive.

Let’s talk about forgiveness. Mark Twain wrote: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Kudos to you, Auntie, because you have forgiven your niece for her caustic words that crushed your heart. You are the adult in this duo, by age, and by your actions. You may not believe this now, but by forgiving your niece, you have started the healing cycle.

First, you will heal your own heart. Your sadness will gradually dissipate. Continue in your own way of living and loving. Take every occasion (holidays, her birthday, the baby’s birthday, and other special days you shared with her in the past) to write her a note or just send a card. Never give up.

One day you will be surprised and happy when your niece calls or stops by, with her baby. You’ll see. It will happen. It is the second natural part of the healing cycle.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Be the first to forgive.

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