Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Accountability and Acceptance

As I have gotten older I have come to realize that accountability and acceptance are two things that we, as human beings, have the most trouble dealing with. Part of the problem is a result of the culture that my generation in general has been taught and has now passed down to our own children. The whole attitude of "not my child" has grown into an attitude of "not me" or "it ain't my fault". What probably started as an utterance born of shock and denial, has now matured into more of the same, accompanied by a general disposition that disregards responsibility for one's own actions and the inability to deal with the butterfly effect and repercussions of those actions; especially when it is affecting the one person who set it all in motion...

My mother had an interesting way of teaching me both of those things...accountability and acceptance. She had a saying that was probably taught to her by her parents.
"You made your bed...now it's you who has to lie in it."
Clearly an easy-to-grasp circumlocution that was my mother's way of saying, "It's your mess...you caused it...you deal with it"; suggesting that everyone is responsible for taking care of the fallout that they, themselves create.
There's a lot of wisdom there, and the older I get, the more I have come to understand that.

For every choice you make, there will be consequences; and don't bitch about it when the wheels of karma come around to exact their justice upon you in an unfavorable manner. In essence...take your lumps.

Recently I endured a scenario in which someone who used to be a friend had set into motion a long-term series of events that resulted in a complete and total irretrievable breakdown of the friendship. I think that it is safe to say that that particular bridge has been sufficiently burned; never to be rebuilt again. I would go into greater detail, but the names and circumstances shall be omitted to protect the guilty and unscrupulous.
At the end of it all, this person came to me to tell me how heartbroken and sad they were that everything happened, and that it was purely unavoidable. The terms "livid and seething" are far too soft to accurately describe my emotions over the matter as a whole, and certainly do not come close to describing what I felt after hearing what anyone of sound mind would call a "bullshit apology".
What I wanted to do in response was to allow every single of ounce of anger and rage out all at once in a furious retort of denigration and belittlement. However, because restraint and good judgement got the best of me, I took a more subtle approach and very sternly and directly pointed out to my weakly lamenting antagonist that it was their choice to pursue that particular course and that their actions left them the only person to blame for the loss of the friendship. I then pointed out that another individual very close to it all would forever be considered a friend because they had elected to remove themselves from the scenario altogether, but that my antagonist would never be considered a friend as a result of everything; as a result of being so knowingly concrete, and entirely absent of conscience in their wrongdoing.
After a very poor attempt at rationalization by my antagonist, which failed miserably, I then sternly instructed my antagonist to "not ever consider me to be a friend". Once "called out" in this manner so completely, said antagonist then changed their tone from very poorly displayed lamentable apology to one of outrightly pugnacious and combative belligerence.
Given the circumstances, my antagonist had no real reason to assume that the "apologetic" scenario would have unfolded any differently or more favorably...if favorably at all. To see this person become enraged at me over the fact that I did not react the way they had presumably hoped for was downright insulting, offensive, and appalling.

When you are the responsible party for a series of events that results in someone having a bad opinion of you, don't be upset at the person you've wronged when they don't accept your apology. When you set the wheels of karma in motion by unscrupulous actions, don't be angry at those you have affected with your actions when the wheel of karma comes crushing down upon you like a hammer...rest assured that it will.
The moral of the story is this...
It's your bed...you made it...now it's you who will have to lie in it. Be accountable for your actions, and accepting of the consequences...even when they are highly unfavorable. Take your lumps as they come to you.

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