When left unresolved, disruptions in relationships can lead to resentment, the slow poison that eats us away from the inside out. Dwelling on an offense provokes negative emotions and increased heart activity, as well as making it more difficult for you to invoke your normal calming response. We feel better emotionally and physically when we work towards forgiveness and compassion.

Breaches of trust can severely disrupt any relationship, whether it’s with your spouse, your family members, your friends, or anyone you care about. To be deeply hurt by another’s actions suggests that there is a bond or attachment between the two of you. If these breaches are not repaired, the emotional pain can cause permanent damage to that bond.

Disruptions in relationships can include:

  • Your wife or husband has an affair
  • A friend takes all that is offered and demands more, without reciprocation
  • A business partner expects you to be on their side in a legal battle
  • A family member lies or withholds information

Whether you want to be forgiven, or you want to forgive someone else, there are ways to repair the wounds of unintentional carelessness, and build back the trust that was damaged. This week, I’d like to focus on getting those tools for forgiveness into your toolbox for living.

When it comes to forgiveness, remember the fable of the porcupine. Seeking warmth and protection from the cold winter, the porcupines huddled together, but the quills of each wounded the closest companion. When they distanced themselves, however, they began to freeze and die.

Faced with the choice between the icy winter or the quills of their companions, the porcupines chose to live with the little wounds that were caused by their close relationships. The most important part was the heat that came from closeness.

Remember: the best relationship is not between perfect people, but individuals who accept each other’s imperfections and admire the good qualities of others.

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