We had a family gathering last week that one of my sons refused to attend. One of his brothers had said and done something to him a couple of months earlier that was very hurtful and he refused to come to any activity if his brother was going to be there.

What his brother did and said was wrong. I’m not excusing his actions at all. But he did apologize twice. He apologized in his own way, which to many people and certainly to my son, was not an apology at all. So, the apologies were not accepted and now my two sons are estranged from each other. How sad!

And yet I wonder, who is suffering the most? I think it is my son who didn’t accept the apology and continues to brood about the wrong that was done to him. He thinks about it all the time. He feels the hurt and pain again and again.

Not only that, he has deprived himself of fun activities by refusing to join us for family gatherings. He stays home alone in his apartment and broods while we have fun together.

The biggest problem here, although he would deny it completely, is that my son has given away his own personal power to his brother. The brother, who he is so hurt and angry at, is the one who is controlling my hurt son’s emotions – and actions!

If you let someone else’s words or actions affect how you are going to think or behave, they are in control of your life! Is this what you want?

I understand how my son feels because I used to do the same thing. Someone would say or do something that offended me and then I didn’t want anything to do with them any more. But one time, I cared too much about the relationship to end it in such a negative way, so I screwed up my courage, went to see them and told them how I felt.

The other person was completely flabbergasted! They had no idea that they had said or done anything to hurt my feelings. We were able to resolve the problem immediately and kept our friendship.

I have continued to apply that principle over the years. In most cases, people do not set out deliberately to hurt or offend us. Many times they are not even aware that you are upset. When it is brought to their attention, the problem can be resolved. If it isn’t, at least you have made the effort and you have kept your power.

You can recognize that they are having a problem, and it is not your fault. That allows you to keep your power and your peace. You are in control of your life and your emotions then – not someone else.

If you have trouble doing this, I can help you.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Stanton is a registered nurse, stress relief specialist, speaker and trainer, as well as the author of three stress-relief books and DVD sets. She was chosen to receive the “Woman of Worth” Health and Wellness Award for 2010. She is available for interviews and can be reached by email: stressrelief@shaw.ca, by phone (604) 820 8439 or through her website: http://www.SherylStanton.com.