If my life's lessons were a novel,
it would probably be Pride and Prejudice.
There are some things about myself that I really do like. One of them is the fact that I have this habit of giving people the benefit of the doubt. A LOT. For whatever reason - tardiness, attitude, difference of opinion... anything and everything. Especially if I don't know them very well. I just don't feel like people should jump to the worst conclusion immediately. And if they do, I try to provide reasons as to WHY. ("Maybe they said that going to a concert is the last thing they wanted to do and that they sometimes are tired of music because they have to deal with kids and music and noise all day long, and all they want is a little peace and quiet; not because they are tired of music itself." - real life example from a few days ago)
Maybe it's because that's what I hope someone would do for me? After all, I do say things that are misinterpreted quite often.
And then comes my pride.
"My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever."
- Mr. Darcy
Welcome to the story of my life.
Typically, I give people the benefit of the doubt for a really, really long time before I give the relationship the axe. You have to damage that good opinion yourself, but not in simple, petty ways. You have to hurt me and damage my view of your character over and over again.
Maybe that is why my conclusion of the relationship is so final - when that decision is finally made. In my brain, I have given a person SEVERAL chances to show their true character and when the offers have been exhausted, the relationship is over. I know who you truly are, and have decided that I don't like what I have seen.
I'm only human. I can only defend a person (to others or myself) so many times. And trust me, defending an unpopular person or opinion can be exhausting after a while.
Once that good opinion is lost, like Mr. Darcy's, it is lost forever. I know this is a bad thing, but it gets worse. I am a TERRIBLE liar. The people in my life can tell you that I am almost completely transparent. My transparency is a reason that my husband first started to like me - I was "real". I didn't try to fake things.
Therefore, I am not good at hiding the fact that I can't stand a person. When I am faced with someone that I no longer care for, the result is not at all pretty. In fact, it is hideously ugly. And I absolutely hate it. Not only do I get emotionally (and almost physically) sick around these few people, but my mouth runs off on its own. I have previously posted about not using my verbal filter. Pair this with disgust and you have a disaster. I have said so many things that I would take back in a heartbeat - but I can't. But then there is that small part of me that tries to justify the things that I have said (the content, not the setting) because they have been proven true.
My pride disgusts me. It is so wrong and so hurtful.
But the hardest part? Knowing that I have been given unlimited forgiveness and grace by my Jesus. And knowing that I am supposed to do the same (that whole living-like-Jesus thing).
Where do I draw the line between forgiving others and protecting myself? I suppose it isn't necessarily a line; more like a gray area. That darn middle ground! The older I become, the more I realize that life is like one big gray area. They don't tell you that when you're a child. It's all black and white, good and bad, right and wrong.
Grace and love.
That's what I have to remember.