Just a thought: You bruise me, I bruise you

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When is it proper to attack? It depends. There are occasions when it is necessary, but usually it is not. Some of you remember Art Garfunkel’s song “All I Know” that begins “I bruise you, you bruise me, we both bruise too easily.” There is a world out there who lives in the “bruise one another” mode.

Let me begin by stating the obvious, I am far from perfect. I see this world through the only eyes I can see this world through, my own. Everything that has happened to me in over 60 years since my birth is a part of me today. 

So understand that this column is one person’s view of the world. Before talking about giving bruises to others, let me go back a step.

We all determine what we spend our time on. We can spend time on ourselves or on others. Most of us make a living helping others. This puts a roof over our heads, food on our tables, and gas in our cars.

Most of us have plenty of room to grow ourselves and could spend countless hours each week working on improving ourselves. This is why we attend a conference in our trade or attend a church service. We should all strive to be the best we can be to be best equipped to help others. We should leverage our personal growth for the benefit of others.

Reading a parenting book can make you a better parent. Going to a marriage conference can make you a better spouse. Being mentored by another can make you better at what you do. You get the idea.

Before a plane takes off we are told as passengers if the air masks drop into the cabin to put our masks on first before tending to the needs of a child or an elderly person next to us. This illustrates the concept of equipping yourself first so you can help others.

Just as we have the opportunity to work internally on ourselves, we have the opportunity to work externally with or against others. Feeding the homeless, donating to drill a water well for a struggling tribe on the other side of the world, or helping out with a child’s school event are examples of working with others to make the world a better place.

Some people or organizations live their lives primarily in the attack mode. Understand this is an important concept coming from an attorney who is regularly in court fighting against another attorney.

I understand in a war attacking is necessary to take possession of a land or country. I also understand that attacking can be necessary to bring about change. But I believe attacking is overrated and is used too often as an excuse or a tool when it doesn’t need to be. 

There are enough bruises coming from day to day living that we don’t need to be looking for excuses to create more bruises. When someone is on the attack mode they are invading someone else’s territory. Sometimes this is done to cover up for insecurities held by the attacker. 

I handle family law cases involving divorces and custody fights. Every divorce is the result of a breakdown in communication. Typically the people getting divorced want to make the divorce the other spouse’s fault. It isn’t hard to do. It’s easy to line up everything wrong about the other person and then to stand on a mountaintop and tell the world the other person is a bad person and why.

Even if every negative statement is true, what does this accomplish? It is an effort for a spouse to look better than their ex by tearing their ex apart. I guess we as humans sometimes feel better when we destroy another who we once loved.

The more time we spend holding another down, the less time we have to fly high ourselves. I would rather spend my time using my wings to fly than on the ground holding down another. If the other person has serious issues, at the end of the day I don’t want to make their issues be my issues. I can’t fix them.

Hurting people hurt people. I am constantly reminding myself this. Typically, when I see one person hurting another, the roots of the attack on another is within the one who is being aggressive. Their way of dealing with hurt in their world is to hurt others. 

I live in a world of attacks. The problem is, after all the attacks, a relationship still exists. And since God gave us each a memory, in the years to follow we have to repeatedly overcome the destruction that we had to walk through and try to leave it behind.

Attacking another you had a close relationship with has its fallout. Others who had nothing to do with the breakup are asked to take sides between two people they think highly of. It is not fair to others to have to line up behind one side or the other.

Hating hurts the hater. How much of our lives can we spend focusing on causing harm to another or others? Think of all the good uses that this time could be put to.

This leads us to the path of forgiveness. Forgiveness benefits the one who forgives more than it benefits the person being forgiven. Forgiveness is a letting go and a recognition that two imperfect people have a history of being imperfect. It is a letting go, a “life is too short” to spend it focused on holding down another.

My challenge to you is to stop your world long enough to assess yourself and the three foot circle around you that you can control. Ask yourself, “Am I bruising others?” “Am I focusing my efforts on how to bring down another?” If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” ask yourself, is it really worth losing valuable time I have here on this planet on this issue?

Why not focus on being the best you that you can be? Why not stay in your own lane and accomplish for the benefit of others what only you can accomplish? 

Maybe today is not your day to try to save the world...just work on saving yourself.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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