Today a young girl, about eight years old, unconsciously swerved into my on the Golden Gate Bridge as I was coming home from a ride through Tiburon and Paradise Canyon. I was already feeling a lovely (but not so much) shooting pain in my knee and was not ready to run into a child while going faster than she was — starting a more-than-agressive-for-my-taste discussion with her father after she fell over. Granted, the bridge on a holiday is a sh*t show and I’m sure the girl was extremely scared/distracted as she just tried to survive the random pockets of people posing for a picture or unannounced flinging of their hands as they point at something on the water. When I hit her, I felt horrible and I stopped to see if she was okay. And although it was technically more her fault than mine in that situation, I had to keep my mouth shut and let the dad go off on his rant while I simply and as calmly as possible apologized as everyone started at us like we were a street act.
Little did I know as I got back on my bike that the impact from her flowery beach cruiser with a customized license plate hanging from her seat had deeply bruised my entire left forearm…talk about a joyous memory of how I mistakenly collided with an eight-year old girl. Her gushing tears showed that it was more than traumatizing from her. For me, it was a situation where I wanted so badly to get defensive and prove it wasn’t my fault. But all I could do was take the “blame” and move on accepting that as an adult, I too had a part. This unfortunate event made me connect with the overarching theme that from time to time, we are falsely accused of ‘this or that’. But in order to find more peace at the end of the day, we have to surrender to others’ over (or sometimes under) reactions, and use their reaction as a liaison to personally reflect on our own reactions. Any dramatic outrage or possible denial of a circumstance can be a sure sign to ourselves to question within the validity of our unique presence/participation in any event.
Whether we are disrespected, undermined, or neglected (possibly all three at once!), how do we remove the other person’s emotional involvement and dig up genuine self-care, as well as, responsibility in the moment? Chances are, we won’t! Or not as much as we’d like to. Whenever we feel threatened or hurt, we retreat to the habitual trail of blame to temporarily resolve our own fear of being wrong. But what if no one was wrong? Yet, the true solution can be the simple acknowledgment of our role, whether minimal or signifiant?! Once we step outside the immediate finger-pointing, screaming or silent-treatment session, the straightforward resolution can be seen: blame is just a mask to revealing the truth, often the truth that someone made a mistake.
The dad didn’t want to admit that his daughter wasn’t looking or that he was trying as hard as he could to direct her despite all the chaos and she wasn’t listening. I didn’t want to admit I had a bad attitude from all the people and could have slowed down even more as the family passed me. Blame is a roundabout way to confessing our individual part in difficult situations of life; be that a bike crash, argument, unsuccessful business presentation, or any rule-breaking activity. Accidents happen. That does not make us, or them, a bad person. Is there anyone in your life that you are falsely blaming for how something has worked out in your life? Even if they were wrong, can you forgive them and release the hate and/or anger? Accidents happen. The true resolution is not more conflict…it is peace.
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” ~Suzanne Somers