Have you been deceived or manipulated? Did someone you care about steal from you? Did they destroy your trust or let you down altogether?
It can feel incredibly frustrating when someone you care about hurts you. You may want to retaliate and hurt them back to restore justice. Or, you may want to cut ties with them completely.
Although you can engage in either of those strategies, they may not make you feel better. If anything, they can make you feel more upset and resentful. Sometimes, it’s much healthier to accept your loved one- despite their mistakes. Let’s get into how you can do that.
Focus On The Behavior And Not The Person
Sometimes it isn’t easy to separate the person from your feelings or from the situation in general. Instead of someone doing “something” that is bad, you jump to the generalization that the entire person is bad. While this thought process is relatively common, it can be damaging to you and your loved ones.
To accept that your loved one has made a mistake, identify which behavior upset you. Get specific with your feelings and label them. This process makes it easier to come to terms with the situation and eventually accept it for what happened.
Acceptance doesn’t mean condoning the behavior. But it does mean that you spend less energy focusing it.
As you process your emotions about the situation, pay attention to what your feelings tell you. Try to avoid making unfair generalizations about your loved one as a person. If you find yourself doing this, practice grounding yourself with mantras like, “They are not a bad person. What they did made me feel frustrated.”
It might also help if you reflect on all the positive attributes your loved one has brought you. This can shift your perspective from a place of resentment to one of appreciation and gratitude.
Share Your Feelings About The Situation
If you bottle up your feelings, it will probably be more challenging to move on from the situation. To prevent this roadblock, it may help to talk about your feelings with your loved one directly. Try not to hold onto resentment by forming a grudge. This strategy often makes you feel worse, and it can make conflict resolution that much harder.
Talking about your feelings helps open lines of communication between both parties. The other person might be wondering how you feel about what happened. If they recognize that they made a mistake, they might be willing to work with you to remedy it.
Remember, in healthy relationships, both people respect each other. That means even if the other person becomes defensive, they will still want you to feel heard while you share your feelings. Likewise, if the relationship is healthy, they will listen to your feelings with an open mind.
I-statements can help express your side of the story without blaming someone else or making unnecessary assumptions. When you share your feelings, try to focus on saying: “I feel ______ because you did ______.” This technique demonstrates how their actions affected you. It also models your accountability over your feelings.
Implement Your Boundaries As Needed
In some relationships, it can be challenging to balance your needs with the other person’s needs. Remember that you should put your mental health and well-being first. If it’s going to cause you more stress to keep that person in your life, consider setting appropriate boundaries.
There are many different kinds of boundaries, and you must find the limits that work best for you. At times, you might need to step away from the relationship for a while. For example, if you used to talk every day, maybe scale it back to only talking a few times a week. When you do talk, consider setting guidelines for how much you want to share. You may decide you want to keep certain topics off-limits.
Of course, setting boundaries is only half of the equation. You must be able to implement them. If you don't, the dynamics probably won't change, and you may continue to feel disappointed.
Seek Your Own Support
While you heal from your loved one’s mistake, make sure you seek your own support. It’s often best to find a trusted person removed from the situation. This person can ideally provide unbiased support.
A therapist can be a good option if you need someone to listen to you and guide you on moving forward. They can recommend how to talk to your loved one about your feelings and how to work through the situation together.
Additionally, continue paying attention to your mental health and well-being. You can process your feelings through journaling, giving yourself time, and reminding yourself that your feelings are valid.
Final Thoughts On Accepting A Loved One's Mistake
We care about the people in our life, and it hurts when they hurt us. Accepting a loved one's mistake may not always feel comfortable, but it often frees you from the pain and frustration of trying to fix or change the situation.
At The Resurface Group, we help individuals and their loved ones repair their relationships and heal from past mistakes. Nobody is blamed- instead, everyone is held accountable for working on themselves and owning their part in recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about our unique process!