Notice the title of this post, and the concept it conveys? Truth & Reconciliation. It’s not justice. It’s not winning. It’s not even forgiveness.
It’s reconciliation. To reconcile. Requires the truth.
But is there ever really a single “The” truth? My truth right now is that each of us has in common a desire to be seen, to feel part of a collective that is more than self serving, and to love.
Stan Dale, founder of the Human Awareness Institute said that everything is either love, or a cry for love. Damn straight truth there. So I find myself trying to reconcile the truth of my own actions. I find myself sorting my past actions and behaviors, choices and non-choices into these two buckets:
“Good, that was love.” and “Ooops, cry for love.”
And then wanting to come clean, to move forward with a greater intention to check my future actions against this litmus: Are you loving, or are you crying out for love? Will this action/request/word cause connection or harm? It’s like a mini version of the recovery Step 4. In that step, you make amends with those you have harmed, with the important disclaimer that you do so ONLY when doing so does not cause greater harm.
And there is the rub. That judgement of knowing, before hand, whether I am acting from a place of giving or taking. There are specific people I love who I long to provide with an explanation, an apology, a promise for something better in the future, but I have not been invited to do so. Without the ask, without specifically asking or being asked, stomping in to make these declarations is a dump, a taking, an attempt to spackle over my own wounds. It would not be an act of love, even if my intention was to do good.
So perhaps a review, a breathing into the truth of my own actions with the honesty of the impact it has had on others, a quiet contemplation of what could have been an alternative choice. Perhaps this internal investigation will acclimate me to the process and next time it can run through the steps before I act, or fail to act.
Here’s the truth: I’ve loved, lied to, tried earnestly to help, over-shared with, and hurt the people in my village. I acted. Someone was hurt. From the perspective of the person who was hurt, that certainly may have felt like abuse. Does this mean I have been abusive? I guess it does. Strong word there. Maybe abusive comes from an INTENTION to cause pain, and I’m fairly certain that the vast majority of my actions have come from a misguided attempt to help or be helped. Or my utter inability to know what was the right thing to do. My abusive behavior has been a cry for love. That doesn’t justify it. But perhaps it saves me the label of “Abuser.” Perhaps, at least in my own mind, it negates the power of that word applied anywhere to anyone. Perhaps all abusive acts are committed by people who are miserably failing in their longing to be seen, to figure out how to be part of a collective that is more than self serving and to love? I know so many tales of abuse that are hard to filter through that lens, but perhaps that is the work of truth and reconciliation.
And what of NOT acting? That can cause harm as much as harmful actions can. I have avoided, walked away from, failed to share, failed to see and love people in my village. I failed to act. Someone was hurt. From the perspective of the person who was hurt, that certainly may have felt like abandonment or neglect. Does this mean I have been neglectful. Absolutely. And I have a story of having been abandoned by others. When I run that through the “Stan love filter,” I arrive again at truth and reconciliation. I can see that neglect or abandonment as a cry for love, by someone who is failing to have enough love, not someone who is intentionally withholding it for some nefarious purpose.
I’m going to hold onto my faith and belief that each of us does our best with what we have. Some of us, for some time, just don’t have what is required to show up, stay, deliver, or do anything but self serve. I’ve done this. People I love have done this. I want to stop seeing the world through the victim/abuser binary. I want to see the world through the lens of love, or not enough love. I guess the opportunity to shift this thinking is to stop using language that actions and neglect are done “TO” someone. The action happened. That is the truth. Assuming that I can understand another’s motive is a path of great suffering for me. But asking myself if this feels like love, and walking towards it, that is something I can do. Asking myself if this feels like a cry for love, and then ASKING if there is some way I can be of service, that is something I can do.