I consider myself to be a responsible person though I don’t say this in a gloating way. I hold myself accountable for many things–my career, my health and my family to name a few and I’m pretty good at holding myself accountable for these things because there are significant and palpable repercussions when I don’t–like, “life falls apart”. The thing is, I can easily get caught up in the chaos of these responsibilities and what tends to fall through the cracks are the day-to-day interactions (or lack there of) that I have with the key players and the peripheral relationships in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I am selfish and checked out–I’m far from it but, we can all be self-indulgent from time to time. We are all imperfect. And, we all make mistakes. I am doing my best–we all are but I can get caught up in my own stuff without even realizing it. I can hurt others, albeit unintentionally. Hence today’s Mindful Monday post–It’s about holding ourselves accountable for our actions and decisions in relation to those around us–from those that we hold close to total strangers as we are all interconnected and we all deserve love and respect.
“How would it make you feel if someone said/did that to you?” I recently asked Hudson this question in response to something he had done that was minor yet not ideal. He paused in silence for a few moments. I could tell he was really thinking about it. He then responded, “I don’t want to talk about it because it makes me feel sad.”
Yes! It makes you feel sad. Exactly. We talked through this a bit more so we could learn from the experience without shame or judgement–but awareness and accountability.
Later that night I started to think about my own decisions and actions and the way they might make someone else feel.
When it comes to our interactions with one another, what if we used this question as a litmus test to keep ourselves in check?
“How would I feel if someone _____________ to me?”
While this takes time and effort and by all means forces us to pause (read more on this), this is truly a test that can hold us accountable for our actions.
It allows us to act in a way that would protect and respect the relationships we hold close to us. It also allows us to respect each and every person we engage with–whether we know them or not.
While it would be ideal that we could make every decision with such clarity and accountability, life and our innate imperfections can get in the way. The good news is — it is never to late to reflect and admit to our mistakes and then learn from them. Apologies are meaningful. Then, we can hold ourselves accountable to be aware enough to make different choices in the future and be compassionate with ourselves as we are doing our best as we learn and grow.
I’ll leave you with this:
“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” Bill Bullard