Sometimes we need to step back and reconsider when we have been hurt. I find it helpful to process the feelings as they are happening, but until the storm of emotion has receded, I can't really gauge why it was so painful and what I can do about it.
Altering my expectations has always been challenging. I want things to be a certain way (Leave it to Beaver comes to mind), and I want people to behave the way I would in any given situation. I understand in my mind that things don't work that way, but in my emotions I still yearn for a happier ending than we sometimes get. Separating my hopes from the reality is not an easy task, and I'm learning slowly how to get better at it.
We can't avoid being hurt, and we can't stop hurting others. It's part of the human condition. I have to remind myself that I let others down as well, to avoid the "woe is me" victim mentality. We can try everything possible to be kind and considerate, and we will still hurt others, probably on a daily basis. I think the key is to talk about what hurts us, to be honest with others, and allow each other to repair the relationship with apologies and actions.
I enjoy this process with my kids a lot more than with other adults. It's easier with children as they are more transparent and haven't built up an elaborate maze of defense mechanisms yet. If I hurt my kids, they cry, and tell me that I hurt them, and it opens the door to a healthy discussion, usually ending with "I'm sorry" and hugs all around. With adults who are frosty and not honest about how they feel, it's much harder to break through to any real resolution.
I've decided to pray about it on a more regular basis, to ask God to soften my heart and the hearts of those I struggle to communicate with. I'm going to ask for a better attitude for myself, and for my hard edges to be rounded off a little. I'm going to appreciate the many people in my life who are supportive and loving and with whom I can communicate clearly when there is a problem in our relationship. Those people are like gold in my life, and I'm going to treasure them accordingly.
Today is one of my favourite days of the year. It's our small town rodeo, a day packed with fun activities: pancake breakfast, parade, BBQ lunch on our new deck, rodeo, kid games, and a demolition derby. We come home for supper tired, dirty, sunburnt and happy, having added another layer of memories to our family story. We share the day with a group of good friends, the kids running wild and playing together while the adults laugh and chat. I can hardly wait.