I’m at a point in my life where I’m reviewing personal relationships. Why am I investing time and energy in places where I have to deal with self-absorption, emotional immaturity, passive-aggressive communication, or outright lies and betrayal? I realize that everyone is doing their best in any moment. We all make mistakes. Relationships give us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and others. But situations where these behaviors are ongoing are clearly not healthy relationships.

What about the friends who don’t understand or support my spiritual growth? I’m keeping the most vital part of my life closeted to protect them. Continuing to put my energy there limits the possibility of making other connections that actually feed and nourish me.

It might be time for some pruning. In gardening, pruning promotes healthy growth. Clearing out the dead stalks and unhealthy plants makes room for more light and air. Removing damaged leaves helps a plant direct its energy toward more vigor. Pruning is not a cold-hearted process. It’s done with love and wisdom, and it focuses on health.

Pruning human relationships is much more difficult. I especially struggle to let go of connections that have deep historical roots. How much negative behavior is too much? What about the people who just can’t bring themselves to apologize? When do I let go of accountability? Where is the line?

The Women’s Collective:  Accountability is an interesting concept. It assumes that we can decide what a person’s motivations for their actions were, that we can assume that the person themself has any idea what is motivating their choices. The majority of people do not have this information. It is often only in hindsight that it is ever possible to know this, and by then the choice is already in the past. 

What you are describing as accountability has several layers to it. We would like to think that people are aware of their actions and the consequences of those actions. Then we would like to think that people can take responsibility for those actions, in the form of apology or atonement. This was discussed in The Next World.*

In fact, much of this ‘bad’ behavior is unrecognized by the person choosing it, and if it is recognized then that elicits feelings of shame. Shame draws the person farther into themselves and away from the people they have harmed. Shame is it’s own form of punishment.

And there we come to the root of ‘accountability.’ We would often like accountability to include some kind of punishment.

I can see where punishment applies to something so ethically heinous as rape, murder, or genocide. But I’ve always believed that personal relationships carry the possibility of repair through apology and atonement. By that I mean owning the behavior and making efforts not to repeat it in the future.

This seems like a simple solution, doesn’t it? Someone says “I’m sorry. That was a bad choice I made. I won’t do it again.” But what is there to make you think that the person has actually changed in any way that would make that behavior not occur again? It is future actions that tell the story of atonement. If you have ended the relationship then you have ended any possibility of witnessing or experiencing those future actions.

People who repeatedly make the same harmful choices over and over are actually showing you that they are not ready to make better choices. This is a reason to move away from them. It is damaging to your own work to continually expose yourself to this kind of harm. Why keep putting your hand into the flames? That is how you learn to make better choices yourself. 

So you are saying that the apology and/or atonement I am hoping for is actually of limited value, compared to actions that demonstrate greater self-awareness.

Yes. But there is a deeper layer to this discussion, and it involves vibration. It will never be about words or actions only, because all of that also includes vibration. Do the words or actions align with spirit, with Life Force, with Universal Peace and Unity. That is how you will be able to tell if this is something you can engage with or not. Even then, you must remove your ego from the understanding, because the ego want to Judge and that is not anyone’s job. You will never know everything that goes into someone else’s choices. You have no business judging anyone. 

You are holding back your own expression of Love when you harden yourself in their presence. You are attempting to protect yourself from their selfish vibrations, but hardening and shielding is of limited value. It shuts down your own Life Force vibration. It protects you from them at your own expense.

What would actually benefit you is to see their behavior and their vibration as part of the One With All. Let it exist in the Universe, which is so vast that it need not concern you. Your own ego is doing the reacting when you feel yourself shutting down. Step beyond your ego into The One, have compassion for all human beings, and then attend to your own business.

Your own business, of course, is the path you are creating in the energy of the whole. That is the only thing you have any control over. Breathe. Breathe in the energy of the Everything, and breathe out the energy of the One. This is your place and your purpose.

 

*The Next World, p. 72-77.