In the depths of desperation, there’s no telling what you might do, what’s possible, or what might happen next. You see, we often attach words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ to statements without realizing:
In fact, our entire lives we are proving and disproving things to ourselves. It’s part of our educational system, it’s part of how we navigate the world and stay safe in nature, and it’s also part of the human mind in general. By understanding if a river is flowing too hard to swim — or if the next time it is much calmer and we can easily walk through — we are practicing survival.
Similarly, we have ideas and express them through words. When we corner ourselves into a particular view, we limit our ability to see anything outside of tunnel vision in a circumstance.
So, an example might be a statement like:
“I’ll never forgive Adam for stealing from me.”
At face value, if Adam were a friend and he stole from me, it might make sense to ‘learn my lesson’ and stop trusting Adam. After all, if he had my trust and stole from me once, what might I expect from him in the future?
Yet, the moment I attach ‘never’ to this statement, I effectively close my mind to any possibility of a gray zone, like maybe Adam desperately needed money to support a member of his family with a medical emergency and promised himself he’d make it up to me one day. Or, maybe Adam was insane for doing this after all the help I offered him, but that’s the whole point; his mind was insane at this moment in time. A moment he may of needed a friend, more than I ever needed what he stole.
Or, maybe Adam didn’t realize he was stealing, because his definition of stealing is different than mine. And even though it doesn’t make a bit of sense to me, his perspective is his perspective. So, if he didn’t ‘think’ he did anything wrong, is it a ‘communication issue’ or a ‘crime’?
If I remove the word ‘never’ from this statement, I’m left with: “I’ll forgive Adam for stealing from me.”
Now, what do you think is the power of ‘this’ statement?
In this case, I acknowledge Adam ‘did’ steal from me, but I’ve decided I’ll forgive him. In doing so, I’m actually letting myself off the hook, because I no longer have to keep tabs on all the evil stuff Adam is doing to prove to myself that he is, in fact, no longer trustworthy. I get to stop pouring energy into Adam, but I also allow myself the freedom to process over time by not committing to forgiving him in this exact moment.
By choosing to ‘forgive’ Adam, I haven’t chosen to completely invite him back into my life as my best friend. I’ve allowed for it to be a possibility by forgiving him, but I’m not ‘forgetting’ either. The act of forgivingness, in this case, is freeing emotional attachment to a set of circumstances or a relationship.
So, by choosing to ‘forgive’ instead of to ‘maintain a grudge’, you are allowing yourself to feel better. You are allowing the possibility Adam screwed up — or has another perspective and means well — and you are allowing yourself to see more than one side.
Once you’re able to see multiple perspectives in a situation, it’s unlikely statements of ‘always’ or ‘never’ will apply.
Today’s thought exercise:
What have you determined you will ‘always’ or ‘never’ do in life? And, what if you revisit those statements and remove the boundaries? Does putting less energy into cornering yourself feel better or worse?
Sent to you with love, honor, and in service,
Dr. Kareem Samhouri
Dr. Kareem Samhour is known as (perhaps) the best Doctor of Physical Therapy & Kinesiologist on the internet. People come to him for results when other methods fail, injury gets in the way, or health situation is more complicated. Dr. Kareem Samhouri exercising In fact, he and his companies reach a combined total of 1.5 MILLION people on a daily basis to help them with their health. If you ever saw Dr. Kareem on the street and mentioned something was going on with your health, however, he would volunteer and offer to help you for free... that's the Dr. Kareem way.