I have realized that I suffer much more recalling my own behavior than in considering someone else’s actions towards me. Regardless of whatever rotten things were done by the other entity, my actions are the ones that count in my grand ledger of suffering.
The pattern I see in my experience is that if someone else’s actions have brought some suffering, but my behavior was in accordance with my principals, the hurt is a sharp, clear thing. The times when I behave in a distant emulation of my better self, the ensuing suffering will grind on me like unrelentingly coarse sandpaper.
After realizing this, I have to also admit the extent to which I created my current suffering by previous actions. Regardless of another person’s behavior – which is not under my control – I can control my own behavior before the bad things happen. I have to ask myself, “Am I lowering myself or my standards for some “reason””? “Reasons” for behaving badly might sound good on paper, but they will provide absolutely no comfort when the crash comes. Everyone has different core values and principles… violate them and be sorry (literally), whether in business or in your personal life. No matter what another person or entity does to us, we each have a responsibility to do whatever our right thing to do is, towards ourselves and towards others. It’s so easy to think there’s been a suspension of the rule when someone else behaves badly towards us. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.
That’s not to say that acting in accordance with your principles won’t ever hurt. The difference is in the type and duration of the pain. You can take the hit up front and get it done, or put it off and end up with multiplied and multilayered grieving.
What I want most out of this revelation is to remember. The past cannot be unwritten.