If there are any girls out there is familiar with the Game of Thrones books, it is obvious that the most awesome character is Arya Stark. She's, like, every tomboy-wannabe's dream.
Arya has this adorable quirk. Every night, before falling asleep, she patiently ticks off all the names of the people she must kill. She has to be sure to keep the list current and memorized, after all.
She's a lot like how I used to be. My memory never was the best, but if someone crossed me, man oh man, I recalled that stinging pain with near-perfect clarity. Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." That was me right there. I couldn't even look at that person without simmering resentment as I recalled my victimhood.
But it's not a very Jewish quality. I had to get over this Arya-ism.
I don't mean forgiveness, necessarily—forgiveness, to me, has connotations of active excusing of others' actions, and so far, that is too lofty a madreiga for me to currently contemplate. I had to make it more attainable.
I'm not sure when the transformation began to slowly, creakily roll along, but one cog was certainly TooYoungToTeach's introducing me to Myer-Briggs personality types.
Initially I was only mildly intrigued, but after hearing about it again a few years later I was galvanized to take out (and later purchase) a book on the subject. I went with Type Talk by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen.
We all have our own ways of perceiving and interacting with others, and sometimes those differences can cause friction. The authors explain that people aren't (necessarily) trying to irritate you; they are simply wired on a differing wavelength.
Duuuuuuude. This has changed so much for me. Where once I would have bawled out my niece for constantly questioning my authority, now I sigh, "Classic ESTP."
As a voluble Brené Brown junkie, I recently finished her most recent book, Rising Strong. (For those unfamiliar with her work, I would recommend I Thought It Was Just Me as a primer.) She spells out here what happens to us internally when we feel shamed, how to work through it, and how to overcome it.
In the end, we all have—at least, I have—past actions to regret. I would want the other not to hold it against me, because if only they knew what I actually meant, that it came out wrong, that I'm not that obnoxious person anymore, that I didn't know better, then. That I'm sorry, so very sorry.
"Do you believe that people are doing the best they can with the tools they have available to them?" This is a quote from Brené's therapist. I try to ask myself this question whenever I feel slighted or offended. And it does change my perspective completely.