It's not your fault.
On a retreat one afternoon, this famous scene was showed to us while we were learning about the depth of inner wounds. (Wounds being the painful things people have done to us, around us, or near us, that have now shaped the way we act and/or think). I think everyone in the room was either crying or swallowing the lump in their throat, so thanks Robin Williams.
This line from Good Will Hunting takes the cake in my heart. Of course it comes close to the incredible quote in the beginning of this movie where Will declares, “You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.”
The way other people act in anger, frustration, hurt, or disgust towards you is not your fault.
Another person's response to anything you've done is not your fault
You are not less than enough because someone has anger issues, outbursts, or problems controlling their emotions.
The people who hurt you have not violated your dignity, they have violated their own.
The people who hurt you were hurt once, too. They have not broken the cycle.
Please read them all again. As many times as Robin Williams repeats, "it's not your fault" to Matt Damon. In that moment Will accepted truth. What a gift we can receive for ourselves if we hear it too.
It's seriously not your fault.
You are not responsible for a person's misery.
You are not the reason for someone's emotional turmoil.
In my own life, when I say, act, or live in decisions for my own security, boundaries, goodwill (no pun intended) and need, I am no more responsible for the other person's response as I am their emotional security and goodwill. The beauty of being creatures dependent on God, aka children of God, is that every breath, step, and choice we make for our own good is equally, if not more, good for the other person's sanctity as well.. even if they (or you) cannot see it.
Let's paint some pictures, shall we?
Exhibit A: A person's choice to transition jobs, albeit leaving a sustaining and good gig he/she may already have. The relationship with their boss is great and the intention is not to leave him/her but to advance in their own personal growth and professionalism. A response of confusion and anger might (will) happen, but also gives the employer the purification of handling this virtuously and allowing God to now control the situation (which He should) giving them focus on their ability to depend on His promise of help. The new hire could then be everything and more the company needs, smacking their ego's anger and frustration across the room, resulting in health and sanctity, and greater trust in God, for all.
Exhibit B: A breakup. The two could have worked, but chose to end their decision to love each other. In the memories, the two will recall all the times they spent growing in intimacy and want to chase back after it -- holding onto it and controlling it -- but one decided he/she wants to move on. God wants that for him/her, even if the other person is praying for reconciliation.
In the hurt and discomfort that comes from the decision, the response of any outbursts, or periodical sadness is their own gift to help them now rely on God, turn to Him, tell Him what they hope for in the future, and what kind of man/woman they will be from this. Letting go and giving the person space is a painful way to love them, but is still loving them. Allowing both people to reach a maturity and blessing that never would have happened IN the relationship.. something God will cooperate with us in every emotional trigger.
Exhibit C: Like in the movie, an abusive parent harming their child. Anyone who experiences abusive situations; verbally, emotionally, or physically, withdraws. We dive into our own self-protecting ways. Turning off moments of intimacy with anyone offering it and leaving moments of pure joy because maybe we feel unworthy. We convince ourselves that it's our fault, when it's not. The person who hurt you was also hurt and the cycle runs like a hamster wheel. Experiencing the unconditional, relentless, powerful, truthful love of God (in Him, in others, in His sacraments) looks a lot like this
It's not your fault because people are supposed to be dependent on God, not you.
If we give people the mere glimpse of needing God (in their loneliness from a breakup, their anger from spilled milk, or their response to your goodwill) we give them a taste of sanctity.
We give them a taste of receiving love from a perfect God, and not an imperfect 'me.'
Anyone who has put their misery, mental instability (their dysfunction and hurt) on you through some type of pain is someone far from the loving arms of God. Our goal should be to always get them back there. More so, keep our own self there and feeling okay with being there. There being; The loving arms of God.
It's not your fault. It's the fault of not letting Jesus be our Savior, friend, giver, and companion.
When we know love, sincere friendship, like Jesus' we don't want to withdraw or settle in jobs, relationships, or situations that make us miserable, locked up, or guarded. We are free to lie a life of inner abundance. Joy. Peace. Gentleness. Compassion. We want His freedom in love that allows us to breathe and give that back to the world without wondering whose watching us fail.
You and Jesus
Jesus is not monitoring, judging, or even keeping tally of our emotions and choices trying to punish us or even control us. No wonder Will wanted to get away in the movie, he was being controlled by the others for they wanted his goodness, not himself. So he hid his talents and he withdrew himself. He only opened up to the protecting and easy loving nature of Sean Maguire. This is who Jesus is for us. Jesus who is not even asking us to depend on anyone, except Himself. (Mt. 10:35) And in that dependence, finding freedom to decide for ourselves what is best, worth the pursuit, and worth living for (be it jobs, people, friends, love, and more).
We spill milk, Jesus laughs
We roll our eyes at a work meeting, Jesus puts His hand on our shoulder
We cry in our bed late at night, He sits at the bedside with tissues
We belly laugh, He does too
We choose a job for our personal development, He is there every day
We decide to end a relationship, He stays and defends us the whole time
Every breath we take is sacred, worthy, good, valuable, and honored. Any emotional response that triggers something inside of someone is not your fault.
Every step, blink, smile, even your occasional frown is meaningful to the God of the Universe, the Father of all Fathers who loves blessing you and talking to you about all of it. That means whatever we choose; anger or joy, patience or pacing, He is there like Robin Williams being unafraid of it waiting for us to just open and express it's nature. Will's self-protecting rebellious ways were not unapproachable. Sean didn't run from them, or not enter into it because he was "too much." Jesus is there the same way -- meeting us on the ground if we need it. He's not just "in the sky."
I pray that you see and imagine yourself worthy of a life of goodwill. That you know the blessing of The Father who fills us up with the gift of restored innocence like Will.
I hope that if you have not seen this movie you go watch it.
That it is worth hunting for. Because Jesus, the redeemer of the world, the rescuer of all evil, is hunting for your goodwill more than you are and waits for you to come talk to Him, the way Sean waited for Will.
Meet the Author:
Shannon is an energetic family girl who loves the Lord. She serves ministry in Philly and works closely to young girls and Theology of the Body. Shannon writes, prays, reads, and gets her fitness on in her free time. She is the Director of More Goodness Now and has a podcast in the same name that you can listen to here: anchor.fm/moregoodness