Last weekend, my mother told me a story about her uncle who never forgot anything. Anytime someone did something bad to him, he dusted out an old score book and recounted how many other times it has been done to him and if it is worth forgiving. It was humbling how detailed my mother said he was. I laughed hard because my mother is a funny story teller but it led me to thinking about how many marriages, relationships or friendships end as a result of score keeping. Yep, it is that serious.
The person who coined the phrase “forgive and forget” must have had his/her own fair share of failed relationships and decided it was better to warn the rest of the world about it. If you are smart, take his/her advice and save yourself.
The Score-Keeper is one who never forgets any wrong doings and then uses it as a weapon or a criteria for reaction when the offence is repeated. Sounds familiar? They are also excellent at retaliations and they usually expect grand apologies. For example “Today makes it the fifth missed call this month. I will make sure to miss her calls 5 times too” or “I was first to apologize last time and the time before, I don’t care who is right or wrong, it is his turn”. Seriously?
This may come as a shock to some people but NOBODY IS PERFECT.
In that moment when imperfections inevitably occurs, rather than bringing out your score book and reminding the person of the number of times it has happened in the past, please talk it out. It may be enlightening to note that some people who reoffend are usually unaware of how big of a deal the wrongdoing is. With the exception that you are psychic or a mind-reader, you cannot understand why people have acted the way they have if you do not approach them and find out.
When you are satisfied with the explanation and you utter words that sound like “I forgive you”, every account of what the person has done should be erased, never to be brought up again.
It is important to note that the manner of confrontation is very key. There is no successful conversation that begins with a raised voice or accusations. If you notice a progressively annoying pattern from your partner, talk only about the current situation, as calmly as possible, and then wait for an explanation. You will be amazed at how civil people become when they are not treated like animals.
I admit, it is not an easy task and it takes work but so does everything good. I also admit that we all find ourselves here at some point in our lives but this piece is for those who bask in the glory of score-keeping.
Now, there are those special people that can never take a correction and commit the same infuriating offences repeatedly, no matter how politely you approach them. Keeping scores won’t help. Deciding when to remove yourself from a toxic situation may be a better solution than being turned into something you are not.
So please, burn that book of wrongs and learn to reconcile your differences. Good luck.
Photo credit: Dreamstime | Atholpady