At one time, I worked as if on a switch. On. If a friend crossed me, my feelings flipped, almost immediately and without any notice. Off. Appeals were frustrating and completely useless. If you wronged me in a serious way, stole a boyfriend, humiliated me, showed a lack of respect, you were dead to me and without reprieve.We all probably have switches like that. Some may work well, others not. In real life, it’s probably more useful to have a malfunctioning switch, and we sometimes don’t get it. I don’t, at least. Life asks us to do our best: we learn to speak, we’d better speak well, or we won’t be understood; we learn to write, we’d better write well, or we don’t get good grades. We’d better make sense. Follow the rules. Then we meet someone who, as she says, wrongs us, humiliates us, steals our boyfriend, shows a lack of respect or so. What to do? Punish? “Go learn how to be a friend,” we say, with madness, anger or indifference. Sadly, many people will never learn what we want to teach them. Even us, our own heroes wannabes, we often haven’t learned many lessons, either because we didn’t want to, or because we didn’t realize it, or because we weren’t prepared to. That’s why I forgive. Not forgiving wasn’t being useful: it was only serving me up bitter pills as time went by.
But it hasn’t solved all my problems. Forgiving seems to work only for close friends. People you know well enough to compare 99% of ons to 1% of offs, or something like that. You have a huge universe of events that leads that 99% to make a big difference, too. What if you’ve just met a person and had to switch off a couple of times? What will you think of that person? Will you ever give him/her a chance to offer you a huge universe of events so as to really test if he/she was an “on” or an “off”? Not likely.
Yes, there’s probability, I know. But there’s also hazard. Then, what to do? Perhaps the solution is not ignoring the switch, but setting it to a higher threshold. It’s not easy, I know. But I’m willing to give it a try. I haven’t had much success so far, if I may confess.