You know when you’re mad at someone, really mad, like for a long time and you don’t know how to un-mad yourself, even though most of you really wants to. You think it has to do with acceptance and forgiveness, and recognizing we are all human and imperfect. Or maybe just with growing up. You got to grow up enough to realize that he or she is growing up too. Or maybe it has to do with their investment in making amends, so that they show responsibility for what they caused by whatever they did to you.
So, you ponder being mad, which can at times feel a bit like madness, and you map it’s myriad implications, thinking that you’ve hit a threshold where you are not going to make being mad an issue, but you are not going to pretend you can forget it either, not when you might just have valid reason in the future for getting mad again. I mean, people don’t change overnight, right? Or at all? And, you’re already mad, why let it go when it’s made you wiser and stronger and more able to know what you needed and expected, and still do?
Then, just when you are coming to terms with the fact that being mad has changed you, or you and them, irreparably, you realize that you’ve been that person that they don’t like or you’ve been thoughtless or got things unnecessarily mixed up or acted as if they were still doing that thing that made you mad when they weren’t. Wait, he or she is mad at you!
If you think it’s feeling vulnerable that made you mad, wait until the feeling of vulnerability from realizing you’ve hurt someone hits you.
Suddenly you appreciate him or her in technicolor, regardless of whatever. Suddenly you get what they meant when they asked you to pretend you have amnesia, and what happened never did and never mattered. You want don’t want them to make being mad decide the future.
And, bizarrely, that’s the break. You feel a little less mad because you realize you hurt them, and instead of you holding back it’s now them, and really you just want a hug, having apologized, so that you know they still like you. Now that you’ve glimpsed their soft inside, you just want to get close to it to make everything alright, because maybe then you are both more likely to communicate or be considerate or feel connected.
The whole mad thing might be less important than figuring out how to not make the same mistakes, because knowing now how each other feels might make it so much more possible to do things together that end up better.
Turns out that it wasn’t their apology that moved you an inch forward, it was yours. And it wasn’t about how you dealt with being mad, it was about they dealt with you. And even if you still have things to be mad about, so do they and once you saw that you just wanted to figure out how to make it all okay.
You start wondering whether your approach all along was wrong, just a lot of misplaced certainty and effort that was more reaction than direction, more escape than making peace.
That’s when, in the space that was being taken up by being mad, other things start to stretch their fingers and toes, like longing and appreciation and affection and closeness and care.
And it seems like a miracle because you said you wanted only to receive love, and now it’s here.