i turned 59 this year. i am aging. You are as well. i do not know if you relate, but aging can be an uncomfortable experience. For me it feels like i am watching an old friend walk down the road. Sniff. Talk among yourselves.
Ok. i am fine now. i also have told you something about my memory problems. I should have worn better helmets. So one of my biggest fears revolves around losing my mind. And my mom has Parkinson’s, so i may be in line.
And i have a mental disorder. My moods can jump around like a ping-pong ball if i don’t look after myself. That has become painfully clear to me.
I tell you all that, to tell you this: none of that matters when it comes down to my role in the relationships i have. Hang with me here and i’ll try to explain.
Those characteristics may make it more difficult for me, but these characteristics are not why i act certain ways. I call them characteristic rather than weaknesses because perspective has a lot to do with definition.
i have used them as excuses many times, i am sure. i know i have said things like, “i was so depressed” or “i’m anxious”, not as information you share with your loved ones, but in the aftermath of consequences. If it ever sounds like i am using those characteristics as excuses to justify negative behaviour, i apologize.
i have recently come to this important conclusion: If i consistently act in certain ways that is behaviour. And those characteristics do not cause my behaviour. These characteristics may influence my behaviour, but they do not cause it. i am responsible for how i respond to life situations.
i hope you understand my message. It is not that people never get so sick they really do not know what they are doing. Before i got my meds straightened out in the beginning, when my illness was not being treated effectively, i did not know what was going on…i can honestly say that.
But i know better now.
i know i was irresponsible with my health care. i was not eating properly. i was not exercising. i was taking my meds sporadically. i was isolating and insulating myself. And talking to no one about what was going on inside. i know what to do to look after myself and i did not do it.
So which of my “things that make me special” do i pull out for an excuse this time? Do you see what i’m saying? i still have what i would call personal accountabilities. It is healthy for me to recognize my role, because nothing changes if i constantly ignore my role in my relationships.
i cannot turn the page if i do not take responsibility for the things i have done to hurt people, for example. There are people who are hurting because i did not look after myself. Of course i have apologized to a lot of those people, so that should do it, right?
Not good enough.
i need to turn the page i am stuck on. i need to take responsibility for my part in things. It’s called accountability. It’s not all me. But there is a lot of “me” that keeps the page stuck. i want to deal with that. My loved ones deserve the assurance that i will do the good and healthy things so this does not happen again. i am a long way from them and they ought not have the extra burden of wondering when i will “self-destruct”.
There it is. That is what an apology looks like. Responsibility and accountability for my actions, and then changing my behaviour. That final part is critical. If i am not going to work at those last two things on the list, i might as well not bother apologizing, right? That kind of apology is like lighting the stick of dynamite for the next explosion.
And also remember to be gentle with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither are we.
i have sold a lot of things during my life. Tupperware, natural vitamins, furniture and did ok in that line of work. And the quote below is from a guy who is responsible for those successes. i read his book over and over. I will leave you with that final thought for now and will likely come back to it soon.
Be safe, but take action. Take responsibility. Get busy.