Too often, consequences seem to be dependent on a person’s status in life. The rich, famous, well connected. . .appear to be able to make their own rules. Those of us in the real world know all too well, when we mess up, consequences happen.
When we don’t pay our taxes. When we don’t pay our bills. When we lie, cheat, steal-the consequences are very real.
That’s how we learn.
As children we push the boundaries around us, often testing how far we can go.
It starts small. Taking a cookie we aren’t supposed to eat without permission. Then caught with the crumbs on our face, we lie. Too young to realize we are just compounding the wrongs until there are too many to ignore.
That’s where parents come in. They gently guide us through our tendency to veer off the honest path. Making it clear it’s not only wrong to lie, but that seemingly innocuous lie can undermine and eventually destroy everything we love. Once trust is shattered, putting it back together again can be an impossible feat to manage.
But as we age some seem to be able to get away with anything.
Because they’re good looking, charismatic, rich, in charge, white. . .
Human nature tends toward the path of least resistance. Given the opportunity, many will take advantage whenever possible, consequences and boundaries keep us within the guard rails. When none exist, anarchy and greed ensue.
Most of us won’t break the law because we can’t imagine going to jail, or at the very least paying the cost to stay out.
Most of us won’t lie or cheat because we don’t want to damage our relationships.
We understand the irreparable harm even one insensitive or inappropriate action can cause and the time and effort required to build back trust.
Most of us feel shame, remorse.
Even if we aren’t caught, we still have to live with ourselves. With whatever we did. Too many confess, not for the good of others, but to selfishly relieve their own burdens.
Consequences are an important part of life. And though we may not all see them in our relationships, jobs, friends… we can’t run away from them internally.
Eventually our bodies catch up to all the damage we caused. What goes around, comes around.
We may not be there to see that ultimate event, but no one can outrun their fate forever.
Most suffer consequences eventually. Whether it’s the damage they inflicted on themselves by constantly ignoring their diet, weight, fitness or overall health. Or the emotional toll chronically attending to only their needs brings. Payback is hard. Worrying, hoping, waiting for that day to come just makes us suffer as well.
I once read there’s nothing more freeing than forgiveness.
At the time it sounded ridiculous. How can letting go of anger, frustration, and pain
kept deep inside for days, weeks, years that are all perfectly acceptable emotions by anyone’s standards given the underlying cause-
A cheating spouse.
A lying partner.
Be released so easily?
But in reality, who are we really hurting?
Them? Unlikely, since in most cases they’re out of our lives already. But even if they aren’t, changing their behavior isn’t an option. Demanding they see the consequences they so richly deserve isn’t within our power.
Only one thing is, forgiveness. Not for them. For us.
Allowing it to fester inside. Eating us up, tearing us apart isn’t causing them any pain.
Forgiveness is the salvation we give ourselves.
It allows us to forgive all the time and emotion we invested letting them hurt us.
It stops the victim mode binding you to the person causing the harm.
It’s freeing, allowing us to move all the energy and resources we put into our anger towards positive endeavors with the other people/ issues in our lives.
It stops the damage it causes to our health and welfare.
It allows us to move on and heal. Understanding that forgiving isn’t forgetting.
It’s letting it go of a weight dragging us down.
Freed from the negative baggage, that memory can now propel us forward, reinforcing the skills needed to keep us from being hooked again.