"Used carelessly, words have the power to leave you feeling shamed, unloved, unappreciated and disrespected. And while words can be forgiven, they cannot be unsaid, unheard and unfelt."
We use bridges almost everyday. You see them in cities, suburbs and rural communities. A bridge may look like a simple concept used to connect people but they take painstaking planning and tedious labor to make them safe and secure. A typical bridge may take less than a year to even a decade to construct.
Our relationships with others are bridges that connect us on a personal level. Our love, trust, honesty and mutual respect for each other are the planks and supports in that bridge. When our supports and planks are in place then we can feel safe and secure in that relationship.
But what happens when we use words carelessly and harm someone else? What happens when selfish actions rip out those planks or knock down the supports of that bridge? What happens when choices that we make blow up that bridge? How do we rebuild that bridge and heal that relationship?
"Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair."
The most important thing to realize when rebuilding a broken relationship is that it will take time and lots of patience. We must first commit to be honest and admit our mistakes. We can't tell half truths and try to protect ourselves or the other person. We must be brutally honest with ourselves and tear down the walls of deceit that we have been hiding behind. It will be messy and ugly, but the only way to move on is to get everything out in the open.
We must then take ownership of those mistakes without justifying our actions. When we do that we are putting back the planks one by one. Each time that we validate someone's hurt and pain, we are strengthening the supports of that bridge. When we are patient and not rush the person to "just get over it", then we acknowledge the depth of the pain that we caused them. One of the worst things we can do is attempt to get them to "shut up" while expressing their anger over our betrayal. Each person processes things differently and in a different time period. We have to give them the time that they need....however long it takes.
While we wait for them to process their feelings, we must be dependable and consistent. Our words will only matter if our actions back up what we say. We can say that we love them and care about their feelings, but if our actions are hurtful and selfish then we cause more damage to the bridge that we're trying to rebuild. We must honor their boundaries and put their needs first. It will be uncomfortable for us to wait. We can start to think that we've waited long enough and they just need to put it in the past and move on. But that's not how the grieving process works.
"Hearts will heal on their own timetable. Never presume to know how others should deal with their pain."
When someone is betrayed and trust is broken, they go through the stages of grief as they process everything that has happened. They are grieving the death of a relationship...the death of what was. They realize that the person they loved and thought they knew is gone. And even though there is the possibility of restoration, it will never be the same ever again. The relationship will be forever different. It will take time to accept that reality.
If we truly want to restore what was broken and build something new, we have to be intentional in our words, actions and choices. We must make every effort to patiently rebuild the bridge one truth at a time....one kind word at a time...one kept promise at a time.....one plank at a time.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.