When you're tired of being understanding and forgiving

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    Sometimes it seems as if there is this well of goodness inside and no matter what other people do, you can always bring up a supply of “it’s okay, I get it”, and you do “get it” and you don’t feel bad about the situation or even what they say, even if you’re hurt everything is fine and you continue to be compassionate.

    But every so often something comes along, you check your inner well and realise there isn’t much left, it hasn’t “rained” for days or weeks or somebody is trying to bulldoze the entire thing and try as you might there’s just nothing left to fuel your understanding or forgiving.



    Memm, I would love to hear of a specific situation so I can comment better.



    YES. I do this. And I think it has to do with a lack of authenticity. When I say “it’s fine,” I don’t always mean it 100%. What I usually mean is, “I don’t think this is a big enough deal to make an issue out of it and I don’t want to make you feel bad, so I’m going to drop it.” And it’s typically true that it’s not a major issue. But you’re right. It gradually eats away at your reserve. And it’s exhausting, because I’m holding back how I feel which is an essential piece of me, refraining from speaking my genuine truth, from hiding that it annoys/ hurts/ frustrates me.

    I think ultimately it’s a balance that we need to find, between speaking what is true for us and letting things go. But I think both can be done with compassion, understanding and forgiveness. And learning to speak up, while maintaining those, is essential. Because speaking up, and acknowledging that you are frustrated, does not mean that you aren’t understanding or forgiving. They can all coexist.


    I agree with Lindsay when he says it’s about authenticity and an aspect of being authentic is about setting boundaries. The bible quote “cast not your pearls before the swine”, really means don’t throw away your resources, do not waste them. Resources of course can be anything from money to time to energy. What I have seen is that this inability to set boundaries is really a negative self worth issue which can look like generosity of spirit (because you are always helping someone) but is really about feeling the need to be liked, a people pleaser so you go beyond your boundaries and it undermines your feeling of self worth. My husband was one, the price he paid was a severe burn-out. He is learning to set boundaries, the limits of what he is able to do, so now when he helps, he is genuinely there for the person. What I am saying is, IT IS OK TO NOT ALWAYS SAY YES. When you set boundaries you create a new freedom for yourself, the freedom to choose how and when you will help. That feels authentic to me.

    And finally it is about choice, the one you make about how to be in your life, how you allow others to impact on your life, your beliefs, faith or theology and about the value you place on yourself. I believe that you are a divine child of God and that we are all One. When you hurt YOU, you hurt me. Stop that! Kidding. I sincerely hope that you can work through this. I know that my husband had to do a lot of soul searching and he is still on the journey. It becomes a filter through which you shape and colour your reality but it is truly an illusion. Remember: “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”. So make a good choice about what you think of yourself and live that instead. Blessings, Elisabeth

    Evie Alexander

    yes, I have felt like that; I intellecttually run thru the litany of reasons to support the “kind and forgiving” response, reaction, thought, but find there
    is a part of me feeling sad, mad, hurt or just WRONG! I have come to see that there are parts of me that long to feel all the “right thoughts”
    and parts of me that just absolutely WONT. I then long to share those parts with a friend of family that would lovingly listen to the “wrong bad thoughts”
    without telling me how wrong that is or preach all the loving kindness I already know!

    when I cannot find this, sadly most of the time, I have to do it for myself.

    I go into those hurting parts and ask them to tell m what’s up. I listen to them, love them, and strive to
    give them what they are seeking; just to be heard and loved anyway. I tell these parts I understand why they feel whatever they feel and let them know it is ok.

    I KNOW now that this is ok, and that in alowing these feelings to be healed I can
    get to the stronger part of me that I allow to reign; the loving, forgiving self who I choose to give the ultimate power!

    I no longer fear they will be allowed to run rampant and over ride the higher parts of myself I gave to love. I can let them be heard
    and trust Love will win.



    I think the solution is probably found by knowing when to implement self-preserving, protective personal boundaries. Doing so doesn’t mean we aren’t compassionate and sympathetic – as we can all become overwhelmed sometimes.



    In addition to some of the other kindly wisdom, consider that the key may be in keeping the well full. Sometimes when we yearn for more connection, we get in a rut of malnourishment, and the well empties. We long for the connection, so when we make plans, we begin dreaming of the experience. This expends the energy in the well, as we focus our intentions and hopes on that plan coming to fruition. So when the friend cancels, the shock of unmet expectations (ie, not going as planned) leaves a void, like a bubble popping. This challenges our equanimity, which expends concentration, draining the well a little more. When empty, there is a sense of isolation and “what about me” “when’s my turn” “why won’t you play with me” and so forth.

    The solution, in my opinion, has nothing to do with boundaries, it has to do with your patterns of self nurturing, and the energy you’re bringing to your friendships. Consider that when we self nurture, we very directly fill that well. Imagine you bake some chocolate chip cookies, and they smell and taste delicious. You know how much your friends love cookies, and how much you like sharing, and so you feel a yearning to share what you have made. So you wrap them up in little bags, and take them to your friends. Only to find out that one is trying to lose 4 pounds rapidly, one developed a chocolate allergy, one just went out of town and so forth. The intention was there, but the conditions for actually sharing weren’t. But, because it was just our desire to share our bounty, our artistry, it doesn’t drain us to be rejected. Maybe next time!

    In this way, we can connect to our friends from a place of bounty. However, if there is a friend that cancels on you a lot, for instance, instead of the self-centric “why is he doing this to me?” view from an empty well, consider the buoyant and curious “why is he doing this?”. As you let your curiosity explore the situation and friendship, its easier to find out if they’re just distracted, disinterested, busy, or if theyre a taker, or whatever. The well stays full, or even refuels itself, as we explore.

    With warmth,


    Memm, Elisabeth and Lindsay,

    I hear all your comments. Memm, until you brought this subject up, I had never discussed it, though it’s been an issue of mine for a while. I used to ALWAYS let others know what I felt. Uncontrollable emotions, usually anger and frustration. Then I started bottling it up. I felt resentment doing this so I started to make it a practice of how and why am I being affected and do I really need to express this to the other or can I see the lesson in the situation and just say, “it’s okay”.

    Right now (for the past few months), I’ve been trying to see through this exact same problem. My ex contacts me and wants to be in touch (long-distance booty call). Since I still have feelings for him and hold on to hope of getting back together, I haven’t been able to voice my thoughts about wanting more for fear of it all blowing up and never hearing from him again. I always think that there will be some day in the future where I’ll be able to express myself to him; that future me is strong, knows she wants more, and is settling for less. I think I’m making progress in getting to that strong me, but I continue to brush things off, say it’s okay and sometimes feel slighted.

    Lindsay and Elisabeth, your comments regarding authenticity, inability to set boundaries and holding back an essential part of me due to a somewhat negative self-worth and need to be liked hit the nail on the head for me. I can’t seem to bridge this gap of valuing my self and my truth and speaking up and the fear of losing this person and the corresponding feelings of unworthiness. It’s a weird place to be in knowing that I should take care of myself and not being able to do so.

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