Responsibility and Reconciliation
One of the things that is really hard to do is own up to one’s own mistakes. It’s not at all fun, and the bigger the mistake is, the less fun it is. It’s hard to admit that we are fallible human beings, and that there are times, even with the best intentions (or we think are the best intentions) our actions can be harmful to others. Every time someone tells me that an action (or inaction) on my part feels in some way hurtful to them, the first thing I want to do is justify it. It’s because of this, or that. I intended this thing, or that other thing. I didn’t mean to hurt them. Those are always the first things out of my mouth. It’s a habit, one that I would like to fully break from.
It’s really hard to just stop those rationales in their tracks, especially in our own minds. It’s hard to listen to other people, and just simply say we messed up, we accept responsibility, and we’re sorry. The truth is, the reasons behind what we did aren’t all that important anymore – what’s relevant and important is accepting responsibility for our mistakes. Unless we do that – unless we vocally and clearly say that we understand the other person’s pain, and we accept that what we did was hurtful in some way, and that we accept full responsibility for it, true reconciliation isn’t possible. What happens is that things get glossed over, but that never stays glossy. It wears quickly, and what’s left is resentment.
We fear accepting responsibility for our mistakes because we fear losing love and connection with other people because of them. But the truth is that not being willing to accept our mistakes is what keeps us from that love and connection. And it keeps us from loving ourselves. We can’t really love ourselves without fully accepting our own faults and weaknesses.
A prayer: May God allow us to be fully human, and to make mistakes. And may God give us strength to be willing to take responsibility for those mistakes, even when it’s really hard, and know that we are loved, no matter what.