People let us down. When someone doesn’t rise up to our expectations we immediately cross them out. We label them as bad, unable to forgive them, or give them a second chance. Yet, if we can find it in our hearts to start seeing people in a more compassionate light, we might avoid the damage distrust instills in future relationships. Believing in people even when they make hurtful mistakes, may encourage them to change and set us free from the grudges that ultimately erode and harden our hearts.
If I turn the tables, I have to accept that I have done my share of damage. Some people stopped believing in me and left, but thanks to those who did stay, hoping I would wake up and finally change, I was finally able to get my act together.
I may be too softhearted, but at the same time, I have a hard time forgiving and letting go. Eventually, I do because it’s way too painful and energy-consuming to be angry. I have been on both sides and I try to remember this when I am upset at someone.
What works for me is giving it time, a healing period, and when I’m ready, I give them a second or third chance. I keep that door slightly open, never closing it completely. Some things are harder to forgive, but eventually, time allows you to be more objective. Whatever happened starts to fade and you are able to believe in them again.
Goethe had a point when he said; “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
In other words, if we see the best in people, we might give them a chance to change and become their best. Surprise them by believing and trusting them!
Viktor Frankl gave this amazing lecture on the subject: