The Power of the Olive Branch

Lady Life Lessons's picture

Let's be honest here – do you take umbrage? Are you a serious sulker, a wild wound-licker or a door-slammer and throw-away-the-key-er? I'm no slouch when it comes to the flounce, a twist on the heel and nose in the air sharp exit in a flurry of talc and sequins; it feels so good at the time. 

High Dudgeon may sound like a hamlet in the Cotswolds, along with Low Blows and Simmering Grudge, but these are far from cosy places to live. 

Those who say life is black and white have conveniently failed to see the Jackson Pollock myriad of messy colours and abstract mayhem that swirls in between and life is rarely as simple as “I'm right/you're wrong.”

In the heat of the moment tempers flare and feelings get trampled and a whiplash response of “enough already” and a nevermore tantrum feels infinitely satisfying. Time and perspective shape it into a different scenario and regret and remorse kick in - you realise you bought a one-way ticket to the dog house and there's no going back.

But there really is. Whereas some people may wish to burn bridges out of a sense of saving face and to inhabit the lonely island of “being right” - the real mindfully, muscular heroes are the olive-branchers. These are those that see that bridges can be built, that life's too short and healing can be done and for the sake of the sore heart and soul one should at least have a go. When the dust settles the mindful mediator will see that there is more at stake than pride and righteousness. There is always a way forward. Yes, things may never be the same again. Maybe they will be more honest and respectful or a kind parting of the ways draws a line under a friendship or broken relationship.

It doesn't always have to be an acrimonious finale of verbal fisticuffs and vitriol. We are often disappointed. We often disappoint. And it is in this humanity that you can find compassion. Very little is personal – it’s just hurt people hurting people - and it's those with the wisdom and soul the size of Pacific Ocean that dare to open heart and hand for understanding, even if it may be met with a thorn or slap.

But here's the thing. It takes courage to reach out and risk the bite of retribution and further fury, you have to stuff down your own issues, swallow back your own bile and see the bigger picture is more precious than saving face - which, by the way, will need reconstructive surgery to remove the scowl if you don't dump the grudge.

Reach Out. I have a relative who would rather live in a self-imposed Siberia than admit they did wrong, yet act like they're the one that has done the decent thing by barely returning your smile and never acknowledging what it took to offer your extended hand.

Shirk the irk and make the move. It is scary, it is risky and it's like wearing a silk blouse instead of armour into battle. Trust me, it's a weird quirk of life but your vulnerability will make you stronger. Dare to dip in, lean towards the hurt and see if there's something salvageable. Even if the only thing you saved is your peace of mind and contentment that, at the end of the day, you tried and did your best. Peace will be yours.

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