I've never really been one of those "anything goes" kinda gals. I do try to subscribe to a live, and let live sort of attitude, provided no one is in danger or being hurt - you know, that sort of thing - so it may be of very little surprise to learn I've been called, well I've been called a lot of things, and some of them not so untrue, but, a bridge burner once or twice in my life (probably more than that, even!).
What's funny to me about this is that it's one of those things said in a manner where the deliverer of this information truly seems to believe they've stumbled upon some epic mystery of your psyche; Some awesome revelation of your most intimate self. And most of all making you aware that it's a bad thing. What's shocking to me is how words and definitions have become almost completely subjective today. How old adages are now twisted, and misused to excuse deplorable behavior is more surprising still. It seems everywhere we look there's another meddler just shrugging, and reminding us "it is what it is," in the ever so non chalant air, or overgrown brats causing unnecessary arguments and preaching forgiveness at every turn. And of course, my favorite, the good old fashioned, generic trouble maker with their two-face deception, lies, and the nonstop chatter once your back is turned who lecture acceptance.
Don't get me wrong, not one of us is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm sure we've all committed any number of "crimes" I've described. It's when people start making a lifestyle out of making others miserable where, in order to keep any sort of grip on my own sanity, I have to begin to release the ties. This is the place where the names are called, fingers are pointed, and the categorization begins. Oh, she's a bridge burner! Oh, she carries grudges! Oh, she pretends she's no longer angry with you, but secretly really is! Perhaps these things have to be said, and these names have to be called in order for those causing all the misery to cope with why you've decided to remove yourself from their chaos. The reality of it is, the bridge was torched long ago, and each lie, manipulation, hurtful game that is played, and every phony gesture has made the fire burn hotter and faster. For me, it's after the bridge is gone that I decide whether it's worth replacing with another to meet the same demise.
The lack of reconstruction is not to be confused with lack of forgiveness, and acceptance, or bitter grudges. It's quite simply just a matter of saying "no" to something that doesn't work, and isn't healthy for you. Somewhere along the way forgiveness, and acceptance have been misconstrued into the same thing, and what's more is now they're expected to be synonomous with agreement. Confused yet? I know! It's convenient for these three words to mean the same thing, because once that's the case there's no longer any need for a little something called accountability. If forgive and accept equal agree, then no one ever has to actually take responsibility for their harmful actions, you know, since now we're all in agreement that it was ok. See how tidy that is?
What people who are stuck in this framework are missing is that to forgive and accept a person does not mean you have to agree with or invite their negative energy into your space. This is not a decision based on bitter resentment, and grudges. It's important to pardon each other of our not-so-awesome moments (we all have them!), and also accept one another for who we've become, instead of feeding the fantasy of who you hope the other will be, and finally to release resentment, and anger from your life letting yourself live from an open, happy, and honest heart.
After all, they say love is all we need. I hope we all remember this as we gather with our friends and families during the holiday season, and bring more of it with us into the new year.