I lost a friendship recently. It was entirely my fault. I've been loathe to reflect on the reasons why it ended the way it did. But I can't run away from it any longer. It's catching up to me---leaking out into other areas of my life, even here on my blog.
I look at myself tonight and realize that I have an urgent compunction to be right. I need to be right. Part of this, I think, comes from an ancient, childhood fear of not feeling heard--always being preached at, judged, condemned, criticized. The need to be right springs from my need to defend myself.
Still, it is no excuse.
I'm aghast at the ways I turn to criticism and sarcasm--the very weapons used against me, I now use against others. In the context of the friendship I lost, my criticisms were--I felt--justified. But they came at a terrible price. God, if only I could take back the words I said and the pain that crossed the face of my friend when I said them!
I instantly regretted the words. I was unable to sleep that night. I wrote an apology the next day.
But the damage had been done. The response I received utterly devastated me--I haven't been able to write or talk to this friend since that email. But it was well-deserved. My friend's response was true. It was honest. No amount of my apologizing will ever be able to take back what I said and how I said it.
My words had come from a place of fear. I was afraid and uncomfortable. I was teetering on the brink of doubt. I needed to be right. If only I would have taken time to....stop. To breathe. To tell myself the things I knew were true about this friend. To choose to give the benefit of the doubt.
But I didn't. I poured out my criticism unchecked. I indulged my fear. Oh, the invariable futility of criticism! Do we ever accomplish what we hope to accomplish by arguing, striving and disagreeing? No.
In the past month, the weight of my error has hung heavy on me. This is not the first time I have made this mistake.
I am absolutely ashamed of myself.
This past week, I also indulged in criticism here on my blog. It is an odd gift, sarcasm. When directed appropriately, it illuminates truth. But it is, nonetheless, a double-edged sword.
I received some of the harshest criticism this past week that I have ever received in my life--some of it valid, some of it not. My words have clearly roused resentment, frustration and hurt. Ah, the double-edged sword.
I am brought low. It has taken my breath away.
I want to ask your forgiveness for being harsh and judgmental. I see the harshness of my words and I can understand how what I think is a defense of my beliefs actually comes across as ridiculing yours.
I feel sick with regret, to be honest.
As an ENFP, I can tell you that I am feeling all this regret very physically. My body literally hurts.
I hope you can forgive me and give me the chance to right my words and my conduct.
I'm so sorry.