.... Continued from "On Being A Pariah (part 1) Perception is Powerful but Compassion is calm.
"There are three sides to every story:
Mine, Theirs, and the truth."
The inability to acknowledge or see this by so many people I know is...well, funny. I laugh and let go. Not in sarcasm, but in confusion and self-preservation to accept people are all different and if their truth is black and white, who am I to say how THEY should see things?
That would be ME being hypocritical, no? It's interesting to see how the hypocrisies play out.
Here are a few facts I've gathered through observation:
1. The men throwing a fit and putting up a show of shock and overly enraged fury are... cheating.
Not always, but to be clear: I do believe most men and women are different in many ways. A more normal response from men when they hear of an affair: "Shit. That sucks. I hope the kids are ok. That's terrible." If it's extreme or highly emotional with gesticulations, it's probably for the benefit of an angry wife or in fear of seeming too indifferent. (Precisely because most men ask themselves, rationally, "how does this effect me?")
2. It's "inconvenient" to everyone else.
This one shocked me. People are "annoyed" I'm not acting more normal, being more social or doing things I used to do. Conversely, if I do show up (school events, parties for people I care about, meetings) most peers are frustrated because THEY don't know how to treat me in public. Huh? How is this my fault? IF how to "handle" or engage me is something you have to think about, you probably are doing or not doing it for the wrong reasons. Period. Ponder that.
3. In time, true and valuable people find their way to you. The flimsy fall out and flee.
When any scandal hits, true and fair humans tend to sit back, collect data and then reach out with reliability, compassion or both. I feel so blessed and surprised to see and re-meet some of my peers that I never knew were so authentic, and genuinely good people.
4. It's a double standard of gender.
Men don't punish each other. They barely acknowledge marital issues to each other and certainly don't ascertain assumptions they can't confirm. Women make it a cold war with me, but are fine talking to men with full knowledge they have committed the same "crime."
5. Kool-aid is pretty sugary and fun. Perception seems powerful.
Like anything if you say it enough, it becomes "true." I've never seen it more. Even some of the parties involved started drinking their own Kool-Aid and need to be swiftly reminded, in truth, what pure water tastes like but ultimately I hand them all a huge pitcher of whatever flavor they want. It's their thirst.
Here's what I know: I am never going to change anyone. I am not even mad when people look down, instead of face my husband and I at a school event or bow out of pre-planned, public play dates because I will be there. I just laugh and let go. I focus on pride in my children.
My oldest daughter initiated a group now officially offered at school called "Banana Splits" to get kids together to talk about divorce and support each other weekly. My middle daughter is excelling at reading, writing, drawing and is comfortable with our situation because WE ARE. We own it and define it.
I apologized, accepted fault, took full accountability, even more than I should have, because I seek calm. I am fully aware that what makes me who I am, is far more and far bigger, far deeper than my mistakes, my poor decisions and my choices.
A lot has happened in six months. I have broken, battled, changed, healed, rebuilt. I truly have compassion for anyone going through anything similar, or judgments, or alienation, or feeling lonely, or any number of things that happen in all facets of life.
I have compassion for the harshest of judges because something in me elicits enough emotion to justify the energy taken to punish, ignore, or waste time talking about me. Perhaps they think I threaten an ideal? Maybe my mess is scary? Do my mistakes or the surface details trigger their own pain, fear, mistrust from some entirely unrelated event?
Or worse: Like a soap opera, do my exposed vulnerability and failures make people feel better about themselves?
Whatever the case, I truly meant no harm to anyone- that's the truth. I didn't set out to punish or ruin or lie. I assure you those were never my goals, had I seen the future and the following collateral damage, I'd probably not be here. Irony. That's the point.
I have huge truckloads of compassion and empathy. I always have. That wasn't my biggest problem....no. Clearly, I had others. But compassion and love are not something I lack, neither is objectivity.
I beg the question: "If they WERE compassionate, empathetic, or honest with themselves,
Wouldn't they, at the very least, be indifferent; if not understanding?
So I laugh and let go.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more