HOW TO MOVE ON FROM AN UNRESOLVED ISSUE

How to bring harmony and peace back into your life when a relationship is damaged and there's no closure. #relationships

WHEN LIFE DOESN'T GO AS PLANNED

I don't know about you, but I like my life to be very sweet, and pleasant, and for everything to be tied up with a neat little bow at the end of the day. I hate messy upsets, I hate emotional upheavals, I hate it when someone is angry or annoyed with me, I hate it when the harmony of my life is feeling out of kilter. It's like there's a glitch in the Matrix of my life (I loved those movies!) and it leaves me feeling unsettled and out of sorts.

So, the questions arise - How do I move on when someone's annoyed, or upset, or causing an issue in my life? What do I do when people within my circle are causing friction and that friction is starting to chafe? How do I bring some harmony and peace back when there's that scratchy issue of unresolved relationship going on?

Here are four things that I've been doing lately to try to move on from the unsettledness of knowing that there are unresolved issues in my life that don't have closure. 

KEEP SHORT ACCOUNTS

The first logical step is to try and fix the situation. I've learned that ignoring it and hoping it will go away only lets the wound fester, and often the situation becomes worse than how it originally started. I remember a falling out I had a few years ago with a close family member that could have so easily been resolved if I'd swallowed my pride and picked up the phone and apologized. I may have felt that I was in the right, but I should have seen that maintaining relationship trumps being right when it comes to close family.

So, now when there's conflict in my life, my first reaction is to step up and be brave and apologize. It costs nothing (besides eating a slice of humble pie) and hopefully the apology is accepted, relationship is restored, and we can move forward again from there. It's so nice when things get wrapped up and sorted out quickly, everyone feels heard, and the issue can be put behind us. But what happens when your apology isn't accepted? What happens when the other person wants to hold onto their anger or annoyance? How do we deal with people who don't behave in a way that brings resolution?

RESPOND WITH GRACE (NOT A GRUDGE)

When that apology we mustered the courage to give is turned down and not accepted, or when the the solution to a problem we suggest is overlooked, then the first thing we tend to do is to get defensive and dig our heels in. We start going over the situation and justifying why we are right and they're wrong, and that it's being proved by them being obstinant. We want to retaliate and we want to stew over it all and sit in our own righteous indignation (well I know I certainly feel like that at times).

Forgiveness does not mean what happened is okay. It means not letting what happened take any more of your happiness. Michelle Maros #inspirationalquotes

Midlife is making me a little more rational these days (maybe some of that wisdom is finally kicking in?) and now I find that it's easier to step back from an unaccepted apology, or a battle that can't be won, and not let the whole thing become more upsetting. Responding in anger or by justifying myself to everyone (a favourite reaction of mine!) doesn't help, instead it's time to take a step back, and try to be gracious. If you can let it wash over you there's a lot less chance that it's going to become a grudge that builds into bitterness. Sometimes you just need to give the other person some time and space to allow things to resolve and settle on their own.

DISTANCE YOURSELF A LITTLE

Taking that step back and allowing some space doesn't mean ignoring it and hoping it will go away. First you need to have made your apology, offered yourself and the other person some forgiveness and grace, and chosen not to let the whole situation eat away at you and turn into a tightly held grudge. Once you've done all you can to make things right with the other person, then it might be time to allow some breathing space.

I personally think that stepping away from conflict is a smarter move than engaging further and adding fuel to the fire. Knowing you've done your best, it's often a good idea to leave the ball in the other person's court and let them decide what they want to do with it. They may choose to get over the hurt and re-establish the relationship, or they may choose to walk away. Regardless, we can't force another person to behave in the way we want them to, we can only give them room to make their own decisions and then live with what they choose to do.

if you don't like someone's behaviour, stay away. MarcandAngel #lifequotes

RECLAIM YOUR CALM AND HAPPINESS

As I said at the beginning, I hate conflict and misunderstandings. I hate knowing that someone is annoyed at me - whether they have reason to be or not. It hurts my heart and it causes me a lot of stress and churns me up inside. I want everyone to be happy, I want the situation resolved, I want peace, love, and vegetables! But I also know that I can't force the other person to forgive me or to mend the bridge that has been broken by the fallout, and I have to be okay with that if I've done my part to try to fix things.

I think if we know in our heart that we've done our best, then we need to let the situation go, stop churning it over, stop over-thinking it, and let it be what it is. Some people thrive on chaos and anger, it's almost like they need to have something to be annoyed at - and we can't allow that to colour our world too. We need to choose to put it behind us, let it resolve in whatever way it has to, take a deep breath, exhale, and let it go. We can't control the other person's behaviour, but moving on with calmness and grace, not holding a grudge, and choosing to be happy are all responses that we can control - and it's the beginning of healing the rift in our life.

BYGONES

When unresolved issues come along I tend to think of Richard Fish in the Ally Mcbeal series - he was a great one for spouting "Fish-isms" including the response "Bygones" when he wanted to move on from something messy that hadn't been resolved and he didn't want to deal with it any longer. He might have been a little bit cavalier and dismissive with his one word response, but I think there's a truth buried underneath it. There are times when we have to say "Bygones" and move on from interactions that hurt our hearts - it may be for a short time, or it may be a permanent move - regardless, sometimes we have to focus on being kind to ourselves and leave the other person and the situation in God's hands.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you have any unresolved relationship issues in your life? Are you good at keeping short accounts? Are you able to put hurt and retaliation behind you and move on with grace?

RELATED POSTS



How to bring harmony and peace back into your life when a relationship is damaged and there's no closure. #relationships
How to bring harmony and peace back into your life when a relationship is damaged and there's no closure. #relationships

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42 comments

  1. This reminds me of a saying I saw during the week that said something like: Revenge is a dish best served...not at all. It shocked me when we did Smash Pit the other week and had to write on our plates the things and feelings we wanted to smash. I found myself writing old grievances and names of people I obviously still bore less than good will towards. It absolutely shocked me - and noot in a good way. Until that point I thought I'd let it go, but obviously I hadn't.

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    1. I feel the same way at times about the whole work fiasco Jo - I think I'm completely over it and have moved on and then I see someone who looks like the crazy woman I worked with and I instantly dislike them - all that transference!! I think we're always a work in progress, but I'm trying really hard not to give headspace to the people who don't deserve my time or my emotional energy. I wouldn't mind smashing a couple of plates though!

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  2. HI, Leanne - Thank you for posting on this important topic. I like the strategies that you have shared here -- especially stepping up and apologizing without letting things fester. Even when we are convinced we were 100% not at fault, apologizing for our role in the situation (even for misunderstood actions) is a healthy way forward. That can hopefully lead to further communication.

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    1. That was a big lesson for me after causing an upset a few years ago Donna - I felt that I was in the right and shouldn't have to apologize for how I felt, but it would have been so much easier to have taken a step back, swallowed my pride and my need to be right and put the relationship first. We live and learn - and hurting another person is something that needs to be resolved far more than being "right" does!

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  3. Nicely said, Leanne. I am having trouble with the "remove yourself" part around here lately. My husband and adult son who lives with us have been having issues with each other and I find myself in the middle a lot, either trying to analyze the situation with each of them after the fact or with getting in the middle during the fray. As the mom, I want to make everything good and keep everybody happy and that isn't possible. I need to try and let them work out the situations themselves but the lines of communication are definitely not good at the moment. Counseling is helping a bit but at times it is so exhausting! Thank goodness for my studio!

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Oh Janet - parenting doesn't get easier does it? Our kids still cause waves long after we expect that we'll be sitting back and having an easy time of it. In years to come your husband and son will look back and think it was no big deal, but when you're in the middle of it (AND as the mum) it's an absolute nightmare. I hope things resolve themselves over time and I'm told that young men's brains don't fully mature until their 25 (and empathy is the last part of the process) - I certainly found our son got so much "nicer" when he hit his mid 20's and was less dismissive of his parents and their views :) xx

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  4. You are always so wise Leanne and I always learn a lot from you. I wish you well! I'm not too good at unresolved issues like the ones you mention, but to be honest I don't have too many going on at the moment. My main concern at the moment is trying not to worry unnecessarily at things I have no control over.

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    1. I think unresolved issues and lack of control both have similar roots Deb. If you're like me, you just want everything to be neat and tidy and to be able to have it all sorted and good. When someone or something won't fit into that box it gets very difficult to not dwell on it. I'm finally learning that not everything/everyone goes the way I want and I have to be able to live with that.

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  5. I have found that "letting it go" and moving on is the best solution for me. In one case, I have apologized, prayed on it and discussed with a professional on how to fix it but unless the other party involved wanted it too, there was nothing to be done except move on. In the other case, I found that holding on to the hurt is only hurting me.

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    1. I've been in that exact position and have had to let things go. Dwelling on it, trying to fix something that doesn't want to be fixed, trying to maintain relationship with someone who wants to hold a grudge - it's just not worth it for my peace of mind. Now I leave it to God and hopefully time will help - or reduce the impact on my feelings. x Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice :)

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  6. Leanne, in the past I had a pattern of letting things build up to the final'ditch and go', but as I age, I am learning to spot the tell-tale signs for when things are about to go sideways (feeling annoyed, overlooked, put out, disrespected, etc.) and I weigh all of those things against salvaging the relationship or letting go.Sometimes I'm just being overly sensitive and a big back step is all that is necessary, and sometimes it's best to move on. That is especially hard when it involves family, but I completely agree with Peacefulheart that holding on to hurt only hurts us.Thank you for an insightful post. You have a beautiful heart Leanne. Your lips to God's ears that we should all just be happy!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Suzanne - I know that it really hurts my heart to be at odds with someone. I don't understand how people allow situations to become so much worse than they should be. I guess part of me expects others to respond in the same way I would - and that's not going to happen. Pettiness, grudge holding, and rudeness are part of some people's personalities and it's best to leave them to it and not allow it to damage our emotions any further - a hard fact to face unfortunately.

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  7. Good quote on the 'not letting it take more of your happiness'.

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    1. Thanks Lydia - it certainly sucks my happiness dry and I refuse to allow that anymore.

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  8. Hi Leanne - You have outlined some good strategies here. Thankfully I don't have unresolved relationship issues in my life atm. I try to be "preventative" by nurturing the relationships that I have and focus more on quality time. #MLSTL

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    1. I thought I'd be able to say the same thing Natalie, but occasionally llife throws a curve ball and someone we know chooses to take offence or refuse reconcilliation. I hope your life stays on an even keel because it makes things so much more pleasant.

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  9. I also have a hard time if I think someone is upset with me for any reason, but I have definitely gotten better at letting things go. I have also become more honest with myself and forgiving. If I did make a mistake or a poor choice, I own it. If I feel the annoyance with me is unwarranted, or if I've apologized and it's been rejected, I remind myself, "This is not me. This is not mine." Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject and for the tips. #MLSTL

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    1. "This is not me. This is not mine." Is a great little mantra Christie and one I think I'll take onboard for myself. I think I've taken responsibility for others for too long and seeing everyone's a grown up now it's time to let them choose their responses and what goes along with that. It's very freeing to let all that worrying about others go :)

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  10. Hi, Leanne - I am visiting again from #MLSTL. I have shared your post on my Social Media. Thank you for all that you and Sue do in hosting this Link Up. It is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Thanks so much Donna - your unstinting loyalty and connection is what makes blogging such a joy (and certainly is reciprocated many times over judging by all the interaction on your blog!)

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  11. Hi Leanne, First a quick question. If I have already added a comment to a blogger’s site a few days ago. Then, a few days later they share their post on this link. Is it ok if I just return to their post and add #MLSTL and share to social media. Or, should I only do this on entirely new posts I am reading?

    Now on your post, today, Leanne. Funny how I am reading your post in the evening after a challenging day of “life doesn’t go as planned.” Yes, a glitch in the Matrix of my life.

    It is likely a case by case scenario. In my case, yes stepping back. And then some diplomatic communication is necessary. Assumptions are being made.

    I have always loved Marc and Angel. They have been my go to with advice. I have their books beside my bed and stream their daily advice. I agree on calmness being a superpower.

    I don’t know whether my actions specifically relate to your post, Leanne. If I have had some challenging interactions (a rare occurrence, although it does happen) I try to put something good and possibly unexpected out there into the Universe to hopefully cancel out any negativity.

    I appreciate the gems in your post:) #MLSTL and sharing on SM.

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    1. Hi Erica - yes to your question - it's what I do so that they know I popped back and shared their post around a bit. And I like your idea of compensating for negative energy by putting some positivity back into the world. Definitely something I'll be adding to my list! Marc and Angel have been really helpful to me with getting past all the upset and damage caused by my last job - they have very sage advice. What I'm liking too is that I don't need it as much as I did in the beginning - which shows me I'm recovering and moving forward. Now I just need everyone else in my life to be chilled out and kind - then these unresolved issues wouldn't be unresolved!! And I'll add that assumptions and choosing to be offended are two relationship killers. x

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  12. Oh my goodness, I'm with you. It gives me anxiety to have conflict with someone. I'm upset if someone is angry with me. I don't really have good coping mechanisms either, so I tend to clam up and not talk, which I know is counter productive. I wish I was better at letting things roll off my back! Thanks for a great post. #MSTL

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  13. Forgot to mention I shared it on my FaceBook page:)

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    1. I truly hate upsetting people Theresa, I hate knowing they're angry (even if I don't feel like it was something worth getting angry about). I now choose apologizing as my first step, but sometimes that's not enough and the other person wants to hold onto things - that's when it's sad and hurts our hearts. I'm learning that sometimes we just have to let people and situations go and move forward without them.

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  14. Hi Leanne, have just popped back for #mlstl and shared on Pinterest for you. A really heartfelt post!

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  15. I am the same Leanne - cannot feel peace if there are unresolved issues. They eat me alive! Your tips on how to manage these things are spot on. For me - the being brave and discussing the issue with the person is the thing I need to do more of. I tend to like to 'pretend' that everything is ok because I can't stand confrontation, but it's better to confront an issue and get it sorted rather than letting it fester in my head and become bigger than Ben Hur! I've shared this post on my SM. xo

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    1. I'm exactly the same Min - it's easier to ignore something and hope it goes away, but I've found that stepping up and addressing it is the better response. It's just a shame that having the courage to connect doesn't automatically guarantee that the other person is willing to meet us half way. That's when distance comes into it - broken relationships are so hard.

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  16. Hi Leanne, great and wise counsel for working through issues with people we care about. It's hard to initiate that apology (no matter who is at fault) but it's the key to moving on from the problem. Sharing on SM. #MLSTL

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    1. I find it difficult to apologize for things that I don't believe are my fault, but if an apology fixes the issues then I'll eat humble pie these days Candi. The hardest part is when the apology isn't accepted and the other person chooses to continue the silence - that's when it's time to back off and let things take their natural course.

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  17. I so love that phrase "respond with grace, not a grudge." Grace allows you to walk away without the baggage. A Grudge stays with you and weights you down.

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    1. Perfectly said Jennifer - grudges are even more ugly than unresolved feelings - they do weigh us down and I don't want to carry that sort of weight in my life. I hate hurting people and I hate being hurt, but I guess it's part of life isn't it?

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  18. great post and great advice. Yes, this has happened me a lot in my lifetime unfortunately.

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    1. It's so sad isn't it Amy? Relationships get damaged so easily and it's such a shame to watch someone cut ties and not be able to fix things.

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  19. Hi Leanne I have difficulty moving on from unresolved issues. I'm not one for confrontation but I do need to have things sorted and in their right box. Unfortunately, life isn't like that and there are times when we just have to realise that moving on is necessary for our happiness. I have unresolved issue with my sister from 30 odd years ago. They will never be resolved and we don't speak but I've moved on and realised that there are more important people in my life that I need to give my energy to.

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    1. I feel the same way Sue - I have a family issue atm that may become the same as yours if the other person chooses to hold onto it. Sometimes we just have to leave things as they are when we've done all we can to mend the rift. I hate it though and hate when things aren't all Brady Bunch and happy, happy, happy!

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  20. Such a wise post, and I think it rings true for so many of us in midlife as we have the time, the experience and the mindset to think deeply about issues as we age. Unresolved issues are really hard for me to handle, and as I'm not confrontational I internalise them and constantly battle with them. Family issues are the worst as I never want to hurt anyone, and want to fix everything when in reality history probably negates the possibility of fixability even if there can be forgiveness.
    I've also just read your Saturday snippets which was really enjoyable and enlightening too :) I Pinned one of the quotes from that post as I couldn't find a place to comment. Am I going dotty? Probably! A
    Anyway, Pinning and Sharing and coming from MLSTL today. Have a lovely Sunday x

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    1. Hi Jo - no you're not going dotty - I mention in the intro to my Snippets posts that I've turned the comments off so you can just browse, pin if you like and then move on - it makes for a cruisier Saturday!
      And yes, family issues are always worse than those in our extended worlds. I think we grow up believing it should all be Brady Bunch and happy families, but that doesn't guarantee that all our family members feel or behave with that same mindset unfortunately - and that's when we sometime have to let them deal with it on their own terms and step back from being the fixer (well certainly in my case!)

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  21. Very wise words and wonderful tips.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment :)

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  22. We need to feature this 'little gem' post on the next Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Kind regards
    Kathleen xxx

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.