Have you ever felt slighted by someone and wanted them to apologize for making you feel that way or at the very least acknowledge what they did? How did you feel if they wouldn't? How did that encounter change your relationship and your feelings about that person?
I'd like to challenge you to reconsider the notion that you can't find peaceful resolution without their cooperation.
I recently had a similar encounter, one where I left the conversation feeling judged. I won't go into the details, I'll just say that I believe my story triggered some resistance in the other person because of their own history and they reacted from their experience, not what I was telling them. However, I would like to add that I could be completely wrong about that, that's MY version of the story.
I spent a week considering this conversation and decided I would tell the person how I felt and why. I was well aware that I wanted acknowledgement that she did in fact project her own story onto me; that I was right. That's not what she did, however. Instead it seemed to me as though she further justified what and why she said what she did (this was done in a caring way, we were not arguing).
I spent another week considering the last two encounters and again decided to talk about it in hopes of finding resolution, which included the possibly of severing the relationship if I didn't hear what I wanted; up until the day before I would be seeing her again, that is. I made the decision to go into the conversation with an open mind, being receptive to whatever came up, rather than being tied to a specific outcome. So using mindfulness to stay present and receptive, and metaphors and stories to remain neutral, I asked how she would view the same situation using different characters.
Leaving the details out, I learned that I didn't need her to apologize or even acknowledge MY perception of what happened because it was MY perception. Whether or not she acknowledged my feelings, they're still my feelings; she's not responsible for me having them, they occurred in MY mind. She's also not responsible for or able to change my feelings, that happens in MY mind also. I get to change my perspective and see that she has her story, and that's okay, and I have my story, also okay.
I could have chosen to sever this relationship because I didn't get the resolve I originally wanted, but in the end I feel grateful to see that I can honor our individuality and feel validated in MY experience without needing HER to validate it for me. And I can appreciate that she has her own experience and doesn't need me to alter my viewpoint to validate hers.
Recognizing that we're only responsible for our own feelings and no one else's is extremely liberating. It's also a big responsibility because we can no longer blame anyone else for our feelings. We can honor our integrity by speaking and acting in ways that are respectful and considerate to others, but we're not responsible for their interpretation. Nor are others responsible for doing and saying all the right things so that we remain comfortable, they get to honor their values as well.
Speak and act with compassionate intention, own the responsibility of your feelings and allow other's theirs. And remember that we are all doing the very best we can, even when we think the other person could do better (please take heed to this suggestion!)
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian