It is all too common for people to have damaged and broken relationships. A telltale sign you are suffering from one of these relationships is if you are holding onto bitterness, anger and resentment that is controlling your thoughts to an unhealthy degree.
We often hold on to anger and resentment because of the false belief that we are hurting the other person by doing so, or we are waiting for the other person to make the first move because we have convinced ourselves we are powerless in the relationship.
This kind of thinking produces all kinds of destructive behavior – ruminating, chronic complaining, blaming, triangulating, and angry outbursts. We are allowing fear and what we believe about the other person to control how we respond to them and how we treat them. The longer we ruminate, the worse the relationship gets. In the process, these negative thoughts consume us, using up precious mental and emotional energy that could be used elsewhere.
100% Responsibility is the stubborn refusal to tolerate unresolved conflict in my life. It leads me to forgive others even when they have not asked for forgiveness, or in some cases, even when they are no longer alive to receive my forgiveness (I may forgive the person in my heart or forgive them directly). It leads me to apologize and seek forgiveness myself when I have wronged others, even if they have wronged me first.
Why would I forgive someone who does not deserve my forgiveness? I do it for myself because I do not want to be imprisoned by the poison of bitterness. I choose freedom.
Why would I apologize if the other person started it? I do it because I want to be free to be the person I aspire to be, and the first step is taking ownership for my part and refusing to justify my own bad behavior by pointing to someone else’s shortcomings.
To be clear, even when you take responsibility for your part in a damaged relationship by forgiving, apologizing and/or changing your behavior, there is no guarantee the relationship will improve. However, when one person takes 100% Responsibility for the state of a relationship, it frequently leads the other person to do the same. This is what makes 100% Responsibility such a powerful catalyst for positive relationships – it is contagious.
Of course, we are not suggesting you apologize for something you did not do. That would be manipulation. Nor are we suggesting you subject yourself to someone who is toxic to be around. Some relationships cannot be salvaged, and some people are simply unhealthy to be around. The point is we are not helpless in the face of broken relationships. We can choose bitterness, or we can choose freedom. We can choose brokenness, or we can choose healing.
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