A friend and I recently discussed people who - for whatever reason - are “toxic to the soul” and how it’s best to distance oneself from their lives and/or remove them from your own. Fortunately, I’ve encountered very few such people in my life. And since I’m not a confrontational sort of person, I tend to just drift away rather than having it out with someone. Cowardly? Yes. Self-preservation? That, too.
But then I get stuck on the concept of forgiveness and feelings of regret once I’ve drifted. When I mentioned these stumbling blocks to my friend, she sighed. She knows me well.
“You’ve already given these people a second or third chance,” she noted. “But go ahead, try forgiveness again - let them back in your life. They’ll be just the same as they were before and you’ll end up hurt and stressed again.”
“But what if this time I explain what’s wrong, how their actions affect others? Maybe then they’d change.”
“Okay, go ahead and try that, too. Odds are they won’t understand or change. Toxic is who and what they are.”
Valid points. Reluctantly, I admit she’s probably right. So why do I still feel guilt, remorse and sorrow because these people are no longer part of my life? Particularly when it comes to family.
And why do so many clichés, sayings, Bible verses, etc. exist encouraging me to feel this way?
Turn the other cheek… [Matthew 5:39]
Forgive and forget.
Do unto others... [Matthew 7:12]
Life’s too short to hold a grudge.
Sticks and stones may hurt my bones
But words will never hurt me (but they do)
Blood is thicker than water.
Never give up on people.
You can choose your friends but not your family.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ Dalai Lama (not so sure about this advice anymore)
I suspect the following cliché is the most appropriate for someone like me:
“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t…”
photo credit: google images