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FF_143388_xlI pulled my husband’s favorite shirt out of the dryer, and it had a big hole in the armpit.

I said, “Looks like this shirt needs to go into the mending pile.”

I always have a small pile of clothes — socks, shirts, pajamas — that need a little TLC. I’m not a natural seamstress, and I need glasses to see clearly, but I can repair a button or stitch a ripped hemline.

I keep my mending pile because I don’t see clothing as disposable. If I’m spending money on a skirt or running clothes, the effort to repair the damage is worth it.

I don’t know about you, but I also have a mending pile for my life.

Sometimes personal and professional relationships go south. I’m not always the first to extend an olive branch, but I do reflect on how and why connections fall apart. Sometimes there are very specific reasons why I’m no longer on good terms with a former friend or colleague. Sometimes it’s just a series of unfortunate circumstances.

I hope to repair all of those relationships, or at the very least, come to peace with the way that relationship ended. It’s not always an easy task. Mending a friendship requires a dialogue with myself. It’s often uncomfortable, but I have it because it makes me a healthier person.

Mending relationships is all about humility and kindness.

Smarter people have written about how to extend an olive branch successfully. If I knew how to do it, I would have more lifelong friends.

Some people try to reconnect with former friends and then engage in passive-aggressive scapegoating. They want to revisit the past, do the math, tally the points and try to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

The irrational and overly emotional side of me wants to have those conversations; however, the middle-aged woman in me is tired. Plus I’m bad at math.

So right now, I have about six people in my personal and professional lives who should get an apology from me. It will happen when I’m mature enough to stop keeping score. There’s hope — I’m close.

And there are a few people that I would approach in my life except they’d want to break out the tape and do an analysis of our previous experiences with one another. I’m not as patient as I should be, right now, so I’m waiting it out. Again, that’s on me.

Mending relationships requires maturity, empathy, and compassion.

It also requires an honest and active interest in moving forward and forgiving past transgressions. If you’re ready to mend fences and repair a relationship, begin with the end in mind. How would you know when things are better? What would a future relationship look like? What are the signs of healthy attachment?

When I look at the mending pile of my life, the best tip I can share is to tackle the small projects first. Take ownership of your mistakes. Forgive in your heart. Sometimes the act of self-reflection is enough.

5 Responses to The Mending Pile of Your Life
  1. Frannyo

    I read the title as “The Mending Pie.” I find a shared piece of pie really does make pretty much all relationships better. And if you can’t work it out by the time you’ve cleaned the plate, you can decide whether to move on or order another piece.

  2. Elisabeth

    I like it. Definitely made me think.

  3. Iona Harding

    Thanks for this, Laurie. I just finished an emotional intelligence course (because I sure need more of that). I am struck by your comments and how much they align with those eq principals — acknowledging our emotions and showing empathy, to name two. Life is just too short to leave relationships lay broken.

  4. Kari Quaas

    It’s important to remember that all people are flawed including ourselves. We’re here to have a human experience, and it takes time to learn about and accept our shortcomings, history, and our escape routes (as my yoga instructor says). We need to have compassion for ourselves and others. It’s tough.

    It’s been a ridiculously tough year for me and I have a lot of love for who I am, who I’ve been, and who I want to become. If we can start with ourselves, that love will extend to others, who are also fighting their own battles, as the Facebook memes like to say.

    Acknowledgement is the hardest part. Giving it proper time to heal is second. Kudos to you, Laurie, for working through the process. And kudos to everyone, including me, for trying to grow more gracefully and wisely.

    Thanks for sharing!