My Late night apology a few days ago brought back a slew of thoughts I shelved several months ago. When does trying again hurt more than help? Is there ever a time when quitting is more helpful?
I’m normally a huge fan of trying again. I believe that nothing gets done until you take the initiative and start it or help out. It takes a village and all that, whatever. But I don’t ever want to take a one sided-view to things, and a disagreement between my mother and I gave me an interesting perspective.
We had differing opinions over how to handle a situation. I wanted to go after them and keep talking, hash it out until we were on better terms with one another. Leaving it alone would only allow the bad feelings to fester. My mother gave me a new angle to consider: let them go, let this incident become water under the bridge. (Bridge? What bridge? The bridge of friendship and love. Forget the bridge, it’s a metaphor). Bringing up the past when they obviously wanted to be alone would only spur on more bad blood. She illustrated with a personal example as well, when trying to pursue a topic and make up only made things worse. I agreed with her and let well enough alone.
I’ve gotten back to thinking since then, however. And I think we both made valid points. As I said earlier I don’t like to leave things in a bad place, nothing changes until you start. But my mom made some good sense too: sometimes dragging things out only prolongs the misery and ends up burning the bridge (is this the same bridge with water beneath it?) And often, I myself take the path of “avoiding a re-run”–especially is I feel I’ve been misunderstood. Better to just move on and work around any repercussions.
How many times have we come up against a situation and wanted to just bulldoze our way through it, only to realize that stopping would have been the better option? Actions can’t be undone, after all, and sometimes arguments run deep. Do you trust that any argument can be fixed, or decide that time works the best medicine (What, now we’re putting medicine on a bridge? Is the bridge alive? Should I be worried? There was a bulldozer earlier, that could be bridge cruelty. Whatever.)
Perhaps the answer lies in the philosophies of Mahatma Ghandi: doing nothing can sometimes be the best offense. After all, it would depend on what your definition of “nothing” is. If words are your weapons (weapons? things have escalated quickly.) to fix a situation, then so can be a person’s mind. They have thoughts too, you know. And if you leave them alone, sometimes they just work it out themselves. Neither course is necessarily “right” or “wrong”, you just need to know them well enough to choose which path to take. (Now we’re off the bridge and onto a path. Alright, moving right along, nothing to see here.)
Thanks for reading,