“It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand.
Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods.
Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow. “ – Doe Zantamata
It’s the new year. Also, the beginning of a new decade. There are lots of pithy or wise quotes on social media. Many people make new year resolutions, or set intentions or goals, pick their one word for the year that will inspire them, or begin journaling. I’ve done or do all of the above. In tough times and times of transition some people derive comfort and growth from these actions.
The quote above is one of those new year/new you quotes that has been making the rounds on social media this week. It struck me because of this phrase:
Good hearts sometimes choose poor methods
Every day in my practice at The Mediation Table I witness some version of this phrase. By the very nature of what I do I see good people at their very worst time; people who are raw and hurting. People whose lives have fallen apart because of something they said or did in their relationship. They come to me in a very vulnerable state. They may have lied, or cheated, or just been an ineffective partner on some level. And as a result of these actions their relationships are ending and they need my help. And while I’ve met some people I like more than others over the years, I can honestly say I’ve never met a truly evil person. All these people have good hearts. They are good people, at least on some level, and have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else. They may be misguided, or addicted, have mental illness or are just suffering a temporary setback. And many, many have DONE bad things. But those are behaviors or illnesses or addictions, but those actions ARE NOT the person.
Let me say that again: bad behaviors do not make you a bad person. Or, said another way as in the above quote: good hearts sometimes choose poor methods.
And at The Mediation Table we may have to examine those behaviors because often times they are what brought you to the table. And some of those behaviors may have an impact on parenting or money issues. Or they may not. They may be relevant history or they may just be history.
So, as you begin this new year and new decade, go ahead and make your resolution, set your intention or goals, pick your one word, but do not let your past bad actions define who you are. You may have to draw awareness to those past actions, you may need to deal with the consequences of those actions, you may have to make amends, you may have to take steps to change behaviors, but you do not have to let yourself or anyone else define who you are by your actions. Welcome 2020!