Surprise, right? In that Relief Society class, my soul filled with thoughts about this experience. And then it filled with many other examples.
Choosing My Own Experience
It is so easy for me to assume that my experience has to be like someone else’s. All of us carry past experiences and past hurts or knowledge about people. Sometimes it’s a relief to not have to carry some of those ideas as I meet new people. Perhaps someone I meet may have offended someone in the past. Or perhaps they had been offended. But I don’t have to let someone else’s experience be my own. I can choose to let my experience be my own experience—not someone else’s. It has been liberating, and healing, to begin thinking this way.
As I listened to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the October 2018 general conference, this sentiment was reinforced. He taught: “Surely each of us could cite an endless array of old scars and sorrows and painful memories that this very moment still corrode the peace in someone’s heart or family or neighborhood. Whether we have caused that pain or been the recipient of the pain, those wounds need to be healed so that life can be as rewarding as God intended it to be” (“The Ministry of Reconciliation
Pressing the “Reset” Button
In every relationship, we open ourselves up to being hurt or misused or misinformed at times. So I have developed a mental “reset” button. My reset button means I recognize the potential hurt—“Ok, that was snappy or unkind”—and then decide that I don’t need to hold on to it forever.
When I start to build a judgment or put people in a box or harden my heart against them, I mentally press this reset button and think, “Give that person another chance.”
A few months ago, a situation at work left me in tears. It took a few days, but then I allowed my heart to press the reset button. In this case, my reset button helped me value another’s opinion but also acknowledge that we needed boundaries on how differences of opinion were expressed.
When I got out of sorts with a friend, it took a few months, but I found I could eventually press my reset button. We spoke about what happened and decided to give things another chance. Even though the relationship is different, I was able to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
When I left a Church meeting and felt like I had been chastened by those I had hoped to feel strengthened by, I hit the reset button. I chose to support the love and direction behind what I had received instead of the way it had been delivered. Then I allowed myself to still love and support those who were trying their hardest to support me.
Our Heavenly Father and our Savior give us endless opportunities to start over, and surely I can do that for others too. I can let the Savior’s power work in my life to help me let go.