Mistakes and Accountability:
It is a matter of fact that at some point in our journey we will act in a way that goes against our core values, that we will let the pressures of the world outside us or the pressure of the demons inside us dictate our actions rather than acting on our values. This is not the end and it isn’t something to indicate that we are faulty or cannot achieve our goals and aspiration while holding to our values. Mistakes are just that, and we need to understand that they can be source of learning and growth just as powerful as any other out there. The key is to realize this fact, but that is also the hard part.
The first step in this it to admit the mistake, yet this can be the hardest part. Day after day we have learned to admit our mistakes to those around us and show that we have resolve to move forward from those. That admission is very rarely one that we hold ourselves to, it is an action we take as a part of the social contract we have in a situation and nothing more. It, therefore, is a minor thing and not thought about. That is not the sort of acceptance that will result in growth. That kind of acceptance will only results in maintaining the status quo. The part that we need to internalize is that when we do make a mistake that goes against our values that we admit that mistake to ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for that mistake and its consequences.
Accountability is the next part. We have to learn to hold ourselves accountable for the mistakes we make against ourselves. Society commonly holds us accountable for the mistakes that we make in their eyes, the traffic ticket or reprimand from a boss. We don’t have a system in place to hold ourselves accountable like that when we transgress against our own values. We have to take a big step forward and hold ourselves accountable for that transgression. This means that we need to accept the mistake, analyze the reasons we made it and resolve to grow past those reasons in the future. This is the process of being accountable to ourselves so that we can live the value driven life we believe in.
Recently I made one of these transgressions. One of the values that xiaoyi and I hold dear is honestly with each other. It is a foundation of our relationship and our lives. Recently, I made a stupid mistake and forgot to put the gas cap back after filling up the car. Hence I lost the cap and the check engine light came on in the car. I knew what had happened and in my own mind had formulated a plan to take care of situation. Because I had that plan in my head, I didn’t tell xiaoyi about it and when she asked about the check engine light I let my embarrassment and the demons of self-worth I battle with in my head, answer saying that I wasn’t sure and would get it checked out. I knew exactly what the problem was and had plans to fix it, but in the instant I slipped and didn’t live the values that I hold. The first step I had to take was admission of the error, both to me and to my wife.
That went easy, as the mistake was laughed off, and I learned that xioayi had lost at least three gascaps in her life as well. The damage to my values, however, remains and isn’t something that will just go away. That is where the accountability comes in. I now have to hold myself accountable to live my value from here on, to make it a conscious effort and to ignore the demons that try to make me live away from that value. This isn’t an easy thing to accept or try to move forward from, but it is something that everyone will have to do at some point if they wish to live a value driven life.
I hope that this has helped you become armed for that event in your life where you live away from your values and gives you ideas on how to get back on track to the life you want to lead.