I cannot say this enough:
Stop making assumptions.
Don’t talk about people – talk to them.
The longer you let things fester, the worse they get until they are irreparable.
This goes for your marriage, kids, parents, friendships, and all relationships – with family, coworkers, bosses, teachers, pastors, neighbors, you name it.
It seems easier to be mad and walk away, but it just breeds bitterness and you never truly put it behind you.
Marriages end because someone stops talking about what’s bothering them.
Parents become estranged from children because someone assumes the other won’t understand.
People walk away from jobs they love because they don’t hear that they are appreciated, and don’t ask, either.
People leave churches they grew up in because they hear a rumor and assume it’s true.
Friendships end because someone misunderstands something that was said, and never asks why.
And each of those people carry around for the rest of their lives the weight of those broken relationships, never able to fully understand how they could have been treated that way – and never having the courage to ask.
But what if it was all a misunderstanding?
What if we misread the situation?
What if the other person couldn’t read our mind?…
Yes, people hurt each other.
And yes, sometimes people are just mean.
And yes, sometimes talking leads to fighting.
And yes, sometimes things do get worse.
But sometimes out of the worst fights – out of those raw and real moments – come some of the deepest truths.
And sometimes those truths break us.
But sometimes being broken is what we need.
And sometimes what we need is to see ourselves in the eyes of that other – to realize what we ourselves have become.
Sometimes the only way we can grow is to be cut down and replanted.
I cannot tell you how many times this has been proven in my life.
Both to my astonishment…
And to my shame.
There are people in my life who mean the world to me.
And they remain in my life because I – or they – swallowed our pride and talked it out when something went wrong.
Because something always goes wrong, because we remain human, after all.
But it can only be fixed if it gets acknowledged first.
And that means you have to talk about it.
It’s not always easy.
But it’s almost always worth it.
If you need to walk away, then do it.
But then go back.
And I know.
It’s difficult and scary.
And it leaves us vulnerable.
But even if all we learn from talking is that the relationship does need to end,
At least now we can truly say we know.
Because we tried.
Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
Talk to the person.
Oh, one more thing: