We inherit a lot from our ancestors. Not only the material or behavioural patterns and the way we see the world, but also things we’d never consider an inheritance.
I inherited a house. I inherited a love for my land, for my country. I inherited some pretty crappy ways of dealing with emotions. I inherited some of my knee-jerk reactions.
And I inherited my parents’ neighbourly quarrels.I never thought that was even a possibility until a valuable lesson came along.
Here’s what happened.
I became the owner of my family house a few years ago. I also became the owner of the road we use to get to to our house and it is a road also used by our neighbours. When it comes to interaction with my neighbours I follow the “less is more” rule. I greet them kindly, help the elderly out with the snow in winter and that’s that. I don’t attend any social gatherings or talk about myself too much. I try to keep to myself. I have known most of these people since I was a child and from what I saw growing up and what my parents went through with them, I am happy to just keep to myself.
The only problem is that when they want to make changes to the road or whatever clever idea they might have, they have to ask me for permission. And that has always been a liiiitle bit of a challenge for them. I usually don’t complicate and let them do whatever they want, but I sometimes have to draw the line and say: “Nope, ain’t gonna happen.”
One of my neighbours had huge problems with my dad. I don’t completely understand how and why, but the argument became so bad that lawsuits were filed. Nothing got resolved, though. Then my dad died.
And by the looks of it, they now want to continue picking fights with me. This is a person who has threatened my family, told my dad he was going to kill his children, sued him and so on and so on … pretty messy and super complicated. And this person decided that, since my father is gone, I’m the inherited guilty party for all his troubles.
This person has, in fact, acted like a complete a-hole. And now he needs something from me. You see, he needs me to sign a piece of paper where I grant him permission to use the road. If I don’t do that, he cannot get a building permit in our country. And he’s trying to build a house. Sucks for him.
My parents already granted him that, but mistakes were made and the paperwork wasn’t properly processed … and now there you have it. I’m the owner and the one he needs. Granted: this is something I’d have to sign over anyway, but I’m pretty sure it must hurt his ego terribly to have to ask for anything.
Long story short: I could make his life complicated. I could draw this out and be the voice of karma (who is, as they say, a bitch).
But I won’t.
I have inherited this problem and it stops with me. I am letting go of whatever negativity trickled down from my parents and am stopping the flow. Not for him, but for me. I’ll let him have what he needs to continue with his life and keep it at that. I’ll instead focus on the good and on making my goals come true. Making someone’s life harder (even if his actions are completely assholish) will not be something I will be pursuing.
I won’t react to things the way my parents potentially would, I will not be petty, I will not accumulate negativity. I’ll be the kind of person I am most comfortable being: loving, nurturing and kind. Not for the sake of the assholes in my life, but for the sake of greater good, positivity and self-love.
Some seem to think that when dealing with negative people, they themselves have to become negative and retaliate. Harm was done to them and so harm must be given back. It’s a vicious cycle. The problem is that most of the harm isn’t really going anywhere. We internalise it and it sits in our mind and is toxic for our souls. We fester in ways of getting back at someone. What good is that?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should be a push-over. All I am saying is that what you think matters, what you say matter and how you choose to deal with negativity matters. Choose the kind of reaction that will serve you and will help resolve things for you. Then go on your merry way and let people have the bullshit they choose to live with. Who knows, maybe they’ll learn a little something from you …