How many times have we found ourselves in situations wherein we wish we could take something back? A few choice words, a scornful look, an awkward handshake, a wrong name, a bad lane change, a premature text, a distasteful joke and the list goes on. What’s interesting, of course, is how we all choose to deal with it once it ‘comes out’, so to speak? Do we Scamper, make excuses, own it, hide, turn red-faced, apologize or simply ignore/disregard that it even happened? We did a lot of ignoring in my family and not a lot of apologies were ever given that I remember, anyway. Not surprisingly then, the same pattern of ‘ignorance is bliss’ would follow me into young adulthood. Also, not surprisingly, it turns out that ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ does NOT work well. Especially in relationships. And so, I have worked hard over the past couple of decades to recognize and avoid this self-defeating behaviour. Here’s the lesson that I have learned when my words/actions don’t always reflect well: Own it, apologize if necessary and/or if the situation warrants it, and move on. Not always easy, though. right?
Just recently, I had a discussion with a group of children who found themselves cast into the role of this everyday life debacle, wherein hurtful things were said to another and the situation needed to be resolved. The truth is that some kids were not even aware that there was an issue, that it had affected another person in a negative way and that it had to be addressed appropriately. Let’s face it, even as adults, we don’t always discern how our words/actions may have impacted others. This is how our talk went….
We all have the ability to think for ourselves, to make decisions, to process, to problem-solve, to question, to consider, etc. This complicated, discreet gift, the gift of thought, is definitely a characteristic that separates us from others in the animal kingdom and it has served and will continue to serve a great purpose for us as humans. Because it is a gift and because it is private, no one EVER knows exactly what another is thinking. Pretty cool since it allows us to inwardly explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and emotions, as we navigate our way through life. But with that realization comes a sense of responsibility, as only WE can be accountable to ourselves for what goes on in our minds. On the other hand, what we say aloud and what we do also makes us accountable to others, whether we like it or not. Therefore, it is extremely important to remember a few simple steps to ensure that what we put out in the world reflects the best possible ‘us’, as that will be the same form of energy that comes back to ‘us’.
Interestingly enough, my sense post-discussion was that some children became more aware of what had happened and the far-reaching effects, which is all that I can ask for as awareness means, in turn, that there is the possibility of acknowledgement and we all know that simple acknowledgement is often half the battle that we fight with others and more importantly, ourselves. A powerful life lesson for us all, without a doubt.