I have been lucky enough to have a beautiful friend who comes over every Tuesday night for the past 5 years (if you know us personally her name rhymes with Kyle). Each Tuesday we drink coffee – or wine – or eat Reese’s and we just talk. We talk about our lives, our relationships, the awkward things that happen that make us laugh until I almost pee my pants. But it is on those nights I have the greatest realizations because this friend makes me feel like I can be so honest with her that it makes me be honest with myself.

During these conversations I felt safe to talk about my true feelings. I felt safe to admit things that hurt me. I felt safe to admit how wronged I felt by little things that truly didn’t matter in life. As I said these things out loud to my female “Kyle” I realized how petty I was. Around two years ago I remember the exact moment I was carrying hurt that wasn’t worth hurting over.

Once I learned this I realized I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I no longer wanted to feel hurt or annoyed or frustrated. I learned that I was holding anger which is basically drinking the poison and expecting it to kill the other person. I was letting it affect my marriage where I would let myself shut down or have a blow up when my husband would make a mistake.

People are human (duh).. what I mean are people make mistakes. People are misunderstood, some people are jerks. Some people come across as jerks but mean the best. Some people have moments of being jerks but are genuinely good. Some people you constantly want to punch in the face.

What do all of these people have in common? They are people. They deserve love and respect even if their actions say otherwise. Of course there are people with horrible intentions but the best thing we can meet that with is love. To learn to separate their actions from their humanity.

One of the greatest examples of this is in my marriage. Rob is one of the greatest humans I know. He literally has the best intentions 100% of the time. But as any other human, he fails. He says the wrong thing, he messes up, he stumbles, he gets tired, he says things out of emotion but that doesn’t change how I view him. To me he is the amazing man I chose to marry. When he does these things I chose to forgive and look at him like the most loving person he is (trust me, it’s not always easy). And I am beyond blessed that he views me the same way since I feel like I mess up 10 times more than he does.

Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I am a genuine believer that love is a choice. There has been times in my relationships where the FEELING of love is gone but the CHOICE of love remains – I stumble and fall at this a lot, but it’s about getting back up.

We are not our actions, we are not our best words. Those things are fickle and changeable. Trust me, I am not saying that we do not have boundaries with others and we be doormats. What I am saying is that when we can get to a place where we genuinely love each other, the flaws won’t mean as much. The flaws just become part of the package of being human.

People act the way they do for two reasons: nature and nurture. One of the best things is people can change regardless of both of these factors. My challenge for us all (including myself) is to view everyone as humans, to separate their actions from their humanity. If we all begin to practice this I truly believe the world will be so much more beautiful.

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