“You have to be mature enough to understand that you have some toxic traits too. It’s not just the other person.”
These are the words etched in a meme I discovered on Instagram this week. Of course, I reposted it because the substance in those two sentences can not & should not be ignored. Weekly, I advocate the importance of preserving our energy & recognizing when certain people or situations do not work in our favor. However, I have never addressed the importance of being accountable for the things we may have done to others. I, for one, can recognize that I am not perfect. I understand that in pursuit of finding myself & navigating through the different stages of my life I have caused pain to others; whether intentional or not. I would be utterly naive to believe that I am the only person who has walked away from negative situations hurt. I must even recognize that I have hurt & caused pain or damage to others I am unaware of. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the roles we have played in someone else’s pain. As adults, we must acknowledge the facts – we are not perfect; nor were we created to be. However, acknowledging that we have had a hand in the experiences of other people, whether good or bad, would give us the most realistic platform for self-reflection.
If we fail to be accountable for our actions & the roles we play, we still leave those we love susceptible to pain while further crippling our own ability to grow. In hurting others & failing to remain accountable, the cycle of pain is never-ending because the opportunity to learn from past behavior will becomes non-existent. Furthermore, those interactions & experiences have the potential to ignite a plague of dysfunction that spans through the lives of many people if not dealt with appropriately. So the last thing we should want is for our behavior to have lasting negative effects on people that inhibits them from evolving past negative experiences they may have had with us. People, regardless of how amazing or horrible they may be perceived, deserve the right to heal. More specifically, from pain we have foisted upon them.
As I write this, I am able to reflect on my healing process & what I needed to receive in order to heal sooner. Although I could not identify it then, in hindsight, I realize that my struggle to fully move past what was done to me (without anger) was significantly hindered by my inability to accept the other person’s disinterest in recognizing the role they played in my dismay. Though I have learned that I have total control of my healing in it’s entirety; in those phases of my life, I would have appreciated solid recognition of the situation instead of the offerings of sweet nothings, broken promises & cruel & dismissive behavior.
However, please recognize that in being accountable, I do not prescribe that we carry the burdens of someone else’s pain like bolders on our shoulders; nor do I believe that we should drag them behind us as if they were shackled to our ankles. We should never be slaves to our past. However, if given the opportunity (directly or indirectly) it would be most conducive to growth if we understand that some of our traits are toxic too. Having toxic traits does not make us bad people, it simply just makes us human. We owe nothing more than that to anyone but ourselves. We are not required to be anything more or anything less than– human. Not perfect. Not a superhero. Just human. Just the best version of human we can be.