SEMINAR CONTINUED: RECONCILIATION – WHY?   4 comments

Now that we’re thinking about it, what is reconciliation anyway? The answer to “why” depends first of all on knowing what reconciliation means in the particular case. My thesaurus has some interesting answers, the first of which is “Settlement.” Under that it lists the following as equivalents for “reconciliation:”

  • Understanding
  • Resolution
  • Compromise
  • Reunion
  • Ceasefire
  • Appeasement
  • Bringing together
  • The opposite of Conflict

I think this list is as good as any as a jumping off point to answer the question “Why?” Why strive for reconciliation?

I’d like first to focus on “settlement.” Yes, I know the definition refers originally to money settlement, the payment of debts. But I’m choosing to take the psychological/emotional route. Reconciliation doesn’t even become an issue until something unsettling, disturbing, stressful happens, or creeps into one’s awareness. It’s the feeling that someone else owes you something and refuses to pony up. How quickly do we get to “He owes me an apology, or a change of attitude, or cooperation, – or at least an explanation.” If such is not forthcoming, there’s a good chance anger will follow. How good it would feel to get even – to tell the offender off. How about a nice angry e-mail? “There. That’s settled.”

But is it really? What about the recipient who, chances are, will not be happy to receive that hurtful anger? Would it really be enough just to make the other guy unhappy? Nope. There’s no settlement there. Just an increase in the pain total. Settlement and stress reduction and pain relief won’t follow.

So, why reconciliation? One potential reason, because unilateral vengeance won’t make the pain go away – unless, of course, one enjoys another’s distress. They call that sadism.

And, of course, there’s no opportunity to receive the apology or explanation if other people have been turned off, or the reciprocal desire to hurt gets turned on.

Conclusion, reconciliation requires a genuine desire to reduce distress. Something more than one-sided spewing of anger is needed for settlement. It seems to me that’s where “understanding” comes in.

Oh, but now what does “understanding” mean?

Or maybe it’s not anger that erupts, but despair that depresses. “I give up. There’s nothing more I can do.” Maybe settlement can’t happen between living people. Maybe the other person isn’t willing, or isn’t even capable of responding, as in having an issue with someone who has completed the earthly journey. Maybe the settlement can only be internal.

“Understanding” can still help. The stress can still be reduced. Next time I’d like to introduce “Jennies rule.”

In the meantime, are some of you willing to give examples of what “settlement” would mean to you?

 

 

4 responses to “SEMINAR CONTINUED: RECONCILIATION – WHY?

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  1. A lot to think about there which I shall do. There are some things that have happened that just make no sense to me! I find it quite difficult to reconcile those heart breaking issues, even just in my own mind and heart. I definitely have come to know that there is nothing I can do except ‘settle / reconcile’ the situation in my own heart as best I can. I have reached out, written letters, expressed my love and desire to make things right and comfortable for all to no avail. I have actually lost hair over the stress of all of it! The heartache, grief and sorrow have manifested in multiple physical ways. I am trying my best now to heal. Do you remember the Eagles song, The Heart of The Matter? That song plays in my head so often.
    As the song goes…

    I’m learning to live without you now
    But I miss you sometimes
    The more I know, the less I understand
    All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
    I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    But my will gets weak
    And my thoughts seem to scatter
    But I think it’s about forgiveness
    Forgiveness
    Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

    • Thanks for this, Victoria, When the other person just plain won’t respond, it’s hard to make sense of it all and, as you said, the challenge is to make sense in your own head without “their” cooperation. It may seem selfish, but that’s the goal. .. to guide ourself to a place where you feel better. I hope some of what follows may help.

  2. What a useful way to think about things. I never thought of settlement in quite this way.

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