lemon and bitters

I’m fairly introspective. Too much sometimes. Spend time thinking about my choices, impact on others, how people perceive me, and what I can do to improve, change or redirect wasted energies. I look in the mirror and scare myself with the vulnerability that comes with seeing my true self, with being self-aware. It often feels lonely, but always begins a reaffirmation or a rebuild. And these are never bad things. Acknowledge a required tweak in behaviour or a need for further mindfulness, even letting go of a useless anger. I hold the mirror up, not for vanity but to check myself. To ensure there is none.

This week I have wanted to offer a mirror to some people in my life. They are accusing me of an inappropriateness that is neither accurate nor fair. In fact, the distortion with which they are judging me and the sad, challenging, situation I have found myself in, is indeed half the issue. There’s a need to take responsibility for repercussions of one’s behaviour. We all do, we all have to feel what we do can be validated or must own the chain of events that we begin. I find myself not wanting to excuse or apologise for my part in their discomfort because of their aggressive disconnected blame response. I just want to say to them, stop… look at yourselves. Why are you intent on a punishment? Especially one that is neither proportionate nor in line with the perceived wrong-doing? And what is it that you wanted to happen?

One of the most important lessons I have learned is once a thing has left your mouth, once a story, an opinion, a lie, a dream, has been said… it cannot be unsaid. It cannot be taken back. And in that, it is no longer yours. You no longer own this ribbon of knowledge, the content, the words. You have no power over it. So when you say a thing out loud, you gift it to the universe and you must let it go. A secret is never that. A confidence is no longer yours from the moment it is muttered. You may wish to manage it, to continue your hold over it, but we are human. We are creatures who verbally trade and promote and bond with our language. We are a community that shares and protects and manages and governs using the soundbytes we exchange.

When you have offered a piece of your own fear or raised concerns to another person, a friend, a partner, a leader… you naturally make yourself vulnerable to their responses. For you no longer have the power, they do. And if you are wise and mature and attuned, you may use this for your own gain, your manipulation, your growth, or to your advantage. And if you are not quite as clever as you think you are, as sure of your rightness, when the recipient does the unexpected, you will blame any one but yourself. However, if for a moment you hold a mirror up and honestly ask yourself who should shoulder the responsibility for this breach, perhaps it should be you?

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