How to “move on”?

I am always inspired by my friend Laura Tarcea’s posts. Laura is a mediator in the GTA, a strong advocate for peaceful conflict resolution out of court. I always love her posts because they resonate so much with me. (And they are always very beautiful graphics!) Today, her post is “Let go of yesterday, so you have enough room to grow tomorrow.” This particular one hit home. Yup, I’ve been there: constantly recalling the past. How do you truly “move on”?

In situations involving disputes where parties have long term relationships with one another (eg. family, estate or employment disputes), if the parties in conflict meet and truly discuss the issues with an open and respectful mind, it goes a long way to moving forward. When parties feel they have been “heard”, the healing process can begin. Now, what if the parties are simply unable to understand one another? In that case, it may be more helpful to accept the fact that we all have a different point of view. Badgering someone else into seeing things your way often has the opposite effect. Rather than insisting you are in the absolute right, try to keep an open mind. Be accepting of differences in opinion, but always try to maintain respect for the other person. I imagine that when people feel that they are both respected, that is when they can help each other create a mutually agreeable solution, allowing each party to move on with their lives.

What about non-family situations? For example, if a total stranger injured you due to reckless driving? Or what if you or your elderly parent has been scammed over the phone or email? It is easy to understand why you would want justice. Many people who are victims of such behaviour may find it difficult to let go of the past. Victims of fraud or deception, or reckless conduct, simply cannot let the perpetrator “get away with it.” Some people have told me that being able to go to court, and telling their story to a judge, actually helped them feel better, regardless of whether they actually “win” or “lose”. However, for those who felt that the judge did not “hear” them and did not deliver justice, what then?

In that case, I think it’s important to accept feelings of disappointment. Talk to close friends, or a therapist. Also, remember that life is not perfect. The court does not deliver perfect justice. People do not always understand and agree with each other. Living in the past, like Laura says, prevents you from embracing the present, and planning bright things for the future. Remembering the past wrongs is spending your finite time to these individuals who have hurt you in the past. Yes, justice is important. But also remember: life is short.

Dedicated to my good friend Laura Tarcea, family mediator in Ontario, Canada.

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