The line between being forgiving and being too forgiving is such a hard one for me to define.

I feel like I have fairly high expectations of people. I do my part, and I expect others to do theirs. I take care of people, and I expect them to take care of me.

Yet, I see myself accepting treatment that is not as good as what I deserve, not as good as the treatment I give others. And I often see myself brushing this off, not demanding better, cutting slack where I should be calling out, settling for less than I should, allowing myself to be walked on and taken for granted. Of course, this clarity generally only comes in hindsight; in the moment, I don’t realize I’m being treated badly, and I let it slide, convince myself it’s okay, acceptable. I rarely demand better.

There are instances in which I do get frustrated, do feel angry that I’m not being appreciated or cared for — but those times don’t last long. I end up feeling guilty for not being forgiving enough, for holding people to high standards, for expecting too much. And it continues.

And then, there’s the problem of focusing on the people with whom I’m frustrated, while not acknowledging or appreciating the people who do care for me, love me, look after me — despite the fact that the latter far outnumber the former.

It comes from a lack of agency on my part, to demand to be treated well and to recognize and appreciate when it happens. Perhaps it’s because on some level, I feel that I don’t really deserve it. I feel awkward when someone’s attention is focused on me. I don’t want to inconvenience someone by telling them I need them, their help, their love. Or I’m afraid that if I do receive that attention, it will only be fleeting and I’ll be left feeling hurt.

I want to see better the line between forgiveness and agency. I want to have more confidence in knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. I want to stand up for myself when I need to stand up, and be able to be cared for when I need to be cared for. I want to appreciate more the incredible people I am blessed to have in my life and dwell less on the ones who don’t meet my expectations. I want to freely offer and freely accept the love, patience, and grace that comes from God.

“Oh, I do believe in all the things you say; what comes is better than what came before.” -Lou Reed


3 responses to “Agency

  1. i do love reading your blog. you make me slow down and think… and you never look at just one perspective on anything–an admirable quality. thanks for sharing girl!

  2. hoping to avoid the "oh my gosh we have so much in common…let's be besties" sense of what I'm about to say, I can always relate so very much with what you tackle in your blogs. I wish we were in a position to get to actually hang out once in a while.

    to be sure, knowing that some of your struggles/realizations are also my own, I want to tread cautiously so as to be a blessing and not a burden. šŸ™‚ though I'm pretty sure that you being who you are you'd never think or say that. I'm just saying.


    how's about october (or possibly a bday trip in nov) for a visit up to SF? I'm well overdue.

    what a novel of a comment. šŸ™‚

  3. When this happens to me, I tend to let it slide, too. And slide and slide. But I think bad behavior or neglect or what-have-you is often a deliberate choice.

    It’s just one way that people grow apart, without the discomfort of having to talk about why. But at the same time, without others’ forgiveness–for large or small offenses–I doubt many would have a friend in the world. Balance is a mystery.

    Citylife is weird, isn’t it?

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