Alexandre Aschenbach

Who gives up on others gives up on themselves


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All of us have experienced a situation in which we make a mistake and need to apologise, maybe change our attitude, maybe look for another way of doing things in order not to make the same mistake again.

We have been judged many times for our mistakes. Worse even is that we have been judged, convicted and labelled. Does anyone have the right to judge us and not allow us to redeem ourselves?

How can we make people understand that we can change and better ourselves? For this I have no answer, but… what then , when we realize that someone we judged, condemned and labelled is actually improving themselves, what should we do?

And when, for any reason, something that looks bad on someone just disappears? And when someone shows signs of change, of improvement? What do we do?

We do not believe it is right for anyone to judge and condemn us without giving us an opportunity for improvement. It is therefore great hypocrisy if we judge and condemn, forgetting to seek signs of improvement in another person.

The employee who normally causes problems is now causing none, a person who complains about everything suddenly stops complaining, the guy who always makes negative comments suddenly stops making them... these people may be improving - or not?

It is at least our duty, under the penalty of being condemned by our own hypocrisy, to offer space, support, or a way for these people to continue on their way to improvement.

I do not mean that we should not protect ourselves from these people, that we should not remember what they were and did until now. Yes, we must remember that they have been unreliable, but why could they not improve their behavior?

I understand! We can better ourselves, but so, why can’t others? We may make mistakes and be

forgiven, and others?

We do not like to be judged, but we judge others. We do not like to be condemned, but we condemn others. What kind of logic is this? Where does this come from?

We wet the bed, but did any parent leave us in diapers for life because of this? Did any parent give up on us? No, they did not. They persevered and finally we did not wet the bed anymore, did we?

But it was not only by your success alone that your bed keeps dry all night long.

How many times have we made a mistake and nobody asked us if we had any problems or if they could help? How may times did someone offer to help?

Which is the best situation for us to grow up in: only praises for our successes, or criticism for our mistakes, or to be ignored?

Do we know the real extent and importance of a change in someone’s life? Regardless of your beliefs you might know the parable of the Prodigal Son. You also remember my other article where I quoted a phrase which every day seems more and more important and real: “We must not judge anyone by their fall, but by the way they rise.”

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We know that the effort to rebound from a fall is bigger than the effort for those who are already on the surface, those who are already standing up. And if we know this, it is because we already sank once before.

And when we needed to stand up, how was it? Did anyone reached out for us? If so, were we aware of the value of it, the importance of the hand which helped us to stand up. If not, were we aware of how much we missed a friendly hand when we needed it most?

If we know it, by pleasure or pain, by the presence or absence, then we become responsible to ensure that they who try to stand up will be welcomed on their journey, will have space to grow up, will raise their head up like we did before (and maybe will have do so again in the future).

It is our duty to encourage, whether by some gesture, words or attitude, it is important to motivate, not discourage.

We criticize the president, our landlord, our boss, our relatives, everybody. But when any of them show any sign of changing for the better, we criticize them again. We do not believe them, so we ignore them and do as St. Thomas did.

Of course, by our life’s experience, our past, by the attitude that some people had and by the way they behaved towards us, make us not believe them. We do not have the security and certainty of their changing for the better. But if we remember the moments when we were in difficulties, when we had no credibility, and when no one lent us a hand, then we will encourage people to rise up, we will then lend then a hand.

It is important to show people who try to change for the better that it is worth the effort. We cannot do it unless we believe in it ourselves.

By not acting like this we are asking others to discourage us when we fail; we are asking to be let down on the first mistake; we are begging people to act in this same way towards us.

If we do not forgive or at least try to, if we do not look for the best in everyone, if we do not look for the slightest sign of improvement, we will then be giving up on others and, by consequence, asking them to do the same to us, that is give up on us. Finally we are giving up on ourselves.

I will not give up on myself. I believe I will fail many times, I have a lot to learn and to improve myself and I will need people to believe in me. I will need them to believe and trust me when I need to change course, when I need forgiveness. I believe I deserve some support to stand up after my fall, provided my improvement is real, that I strive for it, that I am honest in my efforts, that I do not fall over and over doing the same mistakes again and again.

My changes in attitude need to be valued, because attitudes are learned all your life long and it is not easy to change.

I want my apologies to be accepted, I really want to be forgiven and there is only one way to achieve this: by forgiving and allowing other people to make mistakes and allowing them to change, improve themselves and rise up.

I will not give up on myself and would like you not to give up on me, this way, nobody will give up on you and you will not give up on yourself.

If I am not capable of understanding, forgiving and stimulating others to improve themselves, it is not my right to expect this from others. If I do not believe in anyone, nobody will believe in me. That is why when I give up on someone, I give up a little on myself.

And you, how many people did you give up on? How many people’s apologies you did not accept? How many people you did not help improve themselves? In short, how many times did you give up on yourself? And how many times do you plan to do it again?