Recently, 2 friends of mine got into a bit of a tiff because friend A (Amanda) didn't tell friend B (Elizabeth) something really IMPORTANT. While Amanda had apologized to Elizabeth, Elizabeth was really upset about the breech of trust and Amanda felt really bad for hurting Elizabeth.
Enter me. I relayed the following story to Elizabeth:
Several years ago, my accountant boyfriend (now husband) really hurt my feelings. Even though I had accepted his apology, he still felt terrible and informed me that he needed to be punished. At first I laughed until I realized he was serious. So I came up with the harshest punishment I could. I told him he couldn't check any of his bank account balances for three weeks.
Did I mention that he's an accountant? The man who gets up every single morning and checks his account and calls the bank if it is 1 penny off couldn't look at his account.
For three weeks. Three longs weeks.
He did it and frankly now neither one of us can remember what he did in the first place, although we both remember the "punishment."
Anyway, I relayed this story to Elizabeth and suggested that she might come up with some sort of similar punishment for Amanda so they could both feel better. I also suggested the punishment. Amanda couldn't look at her favorite website for one week.
That's right, one whole week without...
Oh, the horror.
Amanda was very sad, but she agreed to it.
It was a long, hard, joyless week but she did it. My husband felt so bad for her that he made these terrible hand-sketched drawings of several pics off the site and gave her one a day to hold her over.
Now both friends seem to have moved on with their lives and friendship.
When we hurt someone close to us, even if they forgive us, we may still feel terrible. Karmically, we need to learn from our mistakes and forgive ourselves. By willingly accepting their punishment, my man and Amanda were able to show that they were really sorry about hurting someone they cared about and how deeply their commitment to their loved ones was.
I won't speak for Amanda, but my husband was able to forgive himself and let it go so we could both move on. Who can ask for more than that?