I think the saying time heals all wounds was meant to be soothing, but it can also be a double edge sword. Time can make you hold on to resentments. It can also keep you from giving people the opportunity to change, to see them in a different light. You continue to react to them based on their past behaviors setting up a continuous cycle. Waiting on time to heal your wound wastes the time you could have spent cherishing what precious time we have left. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. While you are letting “time” heal your wounds, you may lose the opportunity to bridge that friendship or relationship.
I never put much thought into the saying never go to bed angry until my brain bleed. What if the person you are mad at dies before you have forgiven them? What if someone dies before they have forgiven you? Things you wish you could have said or heard will never leave your lips or pass your ears. Moments you could have spent together during your cooling off period or theirs are lost forever.
I remember my sister telling me some twenty years ago that she was afraid to make me mad because she was afraid I would cut her out of my life. Our parents had passed, and we only had each other. It was such a crippling fear that every time we got together for a vacation, she would call afterward and ask if I had a good time and asked if she did anything to make me mad. It broke my heart that she felt that way and I vowed to change and be less reactive.
I could see where she was coming from. I had a horrible temper and a short fuse at that. Not a good combination. After my sister shared her fears, I worked hard at being less reactive, but she was still scared from my past outbursts. As I got into healing work, meditation and spiritual work I learned life was short and living with anger and resentment was no way to live. I did a ton of work to get to that place, well before my membership into the second chance club.
I knew I was a different person, but it took years for her to stop worrying. Each vacation, I would see her waiting for the pleasant time we were having to shift. Each holiday I would ask her to stop worrying about making me mad. I tried to explain that I wasn’t that person anymore. But her fears/scars ran deep and every vacation she continued to worry. It was a good five or six years before she stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Now I’m quick to forgive and let go. At one time or another, we all have made mistakes, said something we wish we could take back, and behaved in a way that we wished we hadn’t. We have hurt someone in some way over the course of our lifetime, sometimes without even realizing we’ve caused pain. Sadly, some injuries run deeper than others, but we have all been there. We have felt a blow and have dealt a blow. Now I try to see the other person’s side. Where are they coming from? Are they having a bad day? Did my comment trigger some past transgression that had nothing to do with me? I’m not perfect. Sometimes I still say things I wish I could take back. I only hope that they are far and few in between.