Have you ever had someone get VERY angry with you not realizing that you did anything to offend them? They feel wronged, they let you know (and as many others as will listen), and you respond with an apology. They accept … everyone moves on, right?
Unfortunately, sometimes that apology doesn’t take. And the person who feels they were wronged continues to share how awful they think you are. And then others get on the bandwagon; and it gets back to you … and you get more upset … and it affects your whole day … and then your week, and the week of those around you … and the whole thing feels very unresolved and continues to hurt you like a hangnail that won’t go away. Sure, you can function-but there’s this little throbbing hurt that won’t go away. And they continue with their anger until it affects your personal and then professional life … The whole thing is downright poisonous and keeps rippling out from those two people. And bad news travels so much quicker and so much further than good news does! At what point does the wronged party become wrong themselves for causing SO much upset?
Now how about when someone does something nice? For example, I got in an accident a few years ago, and I came to work the next day to discover a sweet note and a treat from a friend. It made my whole outlook change. The stress of dealing with the insurance company, the repair company, the person who caused the accident — it was lessened by that kindness. Just a little bit … but that little bit made things easier and made me more patient and kind. And I’d like to think that in turn, the insurance person/repair person/driver had days that were just a little bit easier, and the whole thing became lighter and easier to deal with for all involved. That tiny nice thing put all of those other nice things in motion … and all that nice adds up.
We are all guilty (somewhere on the spectrum) of being on the angry or unable to forgive end of the first scenario. But I haven’t really ever considered the far reaching effect that my anger can have. Is it really worth causing so much damage? Watching this happen recently from the outside has made me think I will try a lot harder to be on the “thoughtful friend” end of things. A tiny nicety that keeps giving back tiny goodness on it’s ripples back out into the world is so much better than lending tiny drops of poisonous anger that keep growing until they boil over and really hurt someone … Gotta keep it in perspective.