The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
~ William James (1842-1910) Doctor, Psychologist, Philosopher
When I was in the Air Force, we would use the expression, “Falling on your sword.” It meant you felt so strongly about a particular issue you were willing to jeopardize your career or reputation for it. The expression goes back to early Rome where a soldier would literally fall on his sword killing himself.
This was usually done to avoid capture and being disgraced by your enemies after battle. In Japanese culture, the samurai tradition called it hara-kiri. Hara-kiri is committing suicide by disembowelment with a sword rather than face the dishonor of surrender. Today the expression, “Falling on your sword” means taking responsibility publicly for something even if it will lead to loss of office and/or reputation.
There should be things in life you are willing at least figuratively to fall on your sword for. Remember the adage, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Also, while you can have issues you’re willing to fall on your sword for, there should also be things you’re willing to overlook.
King Solomon wrote,
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”
As a stepparent in your blended family, you should expect offenses and you will need to learn not respond to each one especially the small ones. Here are the benefits:
- Less Drama. As defined in the Urban Dictionary, drama is defined as “making a big deal over something unnecessarily.” When provoking behavior doesn’t get the desired response of annoyance and frustration, they will stop the behavior. Don’t be a drama king or queen, leave drama where it belongs in the theater.
- Models Humility. You are giving up your “rights” for the sake of peace and unity. You are no longer following your instincts by responding to offenses in kind.
- Teaches Forgiveness. By overlooking offenses you are forgiving the person of the offense, letting it go and not holding it against them.
Committing to overlooking minor offenses does not mean you become the family doormat. Think of it as a reminder you are a mature adult and the need for you to be willing to be the bigger person and let things go. Find the balance that works for you and your boundaries within your blended family.
The following quote by Henry Longfellow should have special significance within our blended families.
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm our hostility.”