“Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”
CHIEF SEATTLE, 1854
Other’s actions affect us in clear and less clear ways. Sometimes we react right away and other times it can take weeks and years to understand the impact of someone else’s actions on our heart and mind. Yet even more elusive is the ability to understand how our actions affect others.
Each of our actions is created from our unique interpretation of previous experiences; be they learned or experiential what comes to inform our thoughts and thus our decisions and actions is subjective. So it is pure insanity to believe that anyone else will respond or react exactly how we would. Any time we do or say something, to, for, or with someone else without asking for their input we will affect them in ways unknown to us. We can not assume that everyone likes roses on Valentines Day or that everyone hates to be told they did something hurtful or poorly.
I am reminded of this on a daily basis, in hearing my clients and living my personal life. It astounds me how much we neglect and discount how other’s actions affect us and how our actions affect others. What impresses me is the power of respect and care possible in asking someone how they might feel if X were said or how they do feel after Y was done.
Facing the unknowns of living in relationship with other people is a reality. Taking accountability before, during and after actions is a gift for the world. It breeds self respect, non-violent communication, and understanding. For if we want to thrive so must the baker, the butcher and the candlestick maker.
TRY THIS TO HELP
Look intently at an object for 1 minute trying to see all its detail.
Now close your eyes and breath for 30 seconds. Reopen your eyes. Take note of what you see that you didn’t before. Notice if anything you saw before now looks different.
Reflect on an instance when you thought what you did was going to affect someone a certain way and it had a different result. Next time commit to opening a dialog about what is desired/needed before acting.