“Never cut what you can untie.” – Joseph Joubert
The above quote is sometimes used by seamstresses and clothiers. The idea is that material may fray or become damaged when cut. The same can be said of people and relationships.
Sometimes, despite the best intentions, people disappoint us; they let us down, offend us, and hurt our feelings. We can be quick to “X” those who do not live up to our expectations. We cut people out of our lives when they fail to meet our needs, fill our voids, or measure up. Many of us go a step further than cutting – we set fires, hoping that all evidence of a painful experience will be burned and destroyed.
Have you ever cut or removed too much of something, only to realize you needed it later? I’ve done that with material on several occasions when making blankets; I’ve even done it with my hair when getting a new style. Have you ever severed a relationship with someone, and later realized the offense (whether real or perceived) was not as big or bad as you initially thought?
There are a great many things which can cause our relationships with family, friends, and others to get balled into a knot. Lies, misunderstandings, unfulfilled promises, moving away, and lack of communication can all contribute to the “knot”. It is very tempting to quickly grab scissors or matches, and cut or burn that “knot”. Poof – Pow – Problem solved, right? Wrong.
When we take the time to untie the “knot”, we resolve to acknowledge there is an issue, address how/why the issue exists, and commit to constructive resolution of the issue. Voila – the “knot” is untied! Admittedly, more time and effort are involved than a quick snip of the scissors or strike of the match, but the results are better. When we untie, there are no frayed edges, no oppressive burnt stench (imagine the smell of burnt popcorn multiplied by ten – for months or years), and most importantly – there will be restoration instead of destruction. Good luck trying to run back across a bridge to which you’ve set on fire! A restored relationship is almost always better than being right, or even defending your right.