“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen Covey.
“You are free to make whatever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequences of the choice.”
When you do the wrong thing, you should expect to face the consequences of your actions. Isn’t it funny how so many people fight to not have to face them? Whether it’s kids that are hurting from a divorce, a business that fails, a former spouse that wants nothing to do with you, or relationships that have been damaged; people don’t like to face the music. Often there is a relatively simple solution to help mend fences, but many don’t want to take it. Why? Fear, pride, having to take responsibility, and being held accountable for ones own actions. In other words, having to face the consequences.
I once knew someone that was upset with me, because I judged them for their actions. Now, stop and think about this. Any rational, sane person goes by your actions, and not by your words. Why? People lie all the time. That’s right, there are people that believe it’s better to lie to save themselves, than to tell the truth and risk facing the consequences. The runners of the world always have escape plans. They make messes, run from them at the first opportune moment, and expect others to clean them up. Fully expecting to continue to live without the stress of facing the consequences. It’s called: denial.
These types of people think that it’s someone else’s job to make their lives run smoothly after they screw things up. This is what entitlement looks like. Entitled people believe that consequences are for others to deal with. They shouldn’t have to suffer for their poor choices, bad decisions and unreasonable actions. Doesn’t this sound like a 4 year that won’t admit that they ate the Oreo cookie, even though the crumbs are all over their mouth? Why would anyone do this? To avoid pain. But here’s the rub: sooner or later it catches up with you. When it’s later, it’s even more painful.
The funny thing is, by the time it does catch up to you, you’ve caused so much destruction and damage, that there’s no one left to help you clean up the mess. You’ve used all the people that you could to get you out of a jam. Small messes when dealt with are easy to clean up. And, if you make enough small messes, they become a massive mess. By this time, no one is interested in helping you clean up, because they’re sick of bailing you out. Period.
When you finally are forced to take responsibility, those that you wished were there to help are long gone. That’s a heavy price to pay for living in denial. But, pay it you will. Digging yourself out is tough, but it can be life changing. If you let it. No one wants to clean up anyone else’s mess. And, if you’ve caused them heartache and difficulties consistently? Then you’ll be hard pressed to get them to trust you, let alone have a desire to reach out to you. They just won’t accept justifications. The only way to make amends? Admit what you’ve done and let them decide how you can make it up to them. That’s right, they have control of the situation, you don’t.
Accepting the parts of yourself that you don’t like and/or are ashamed of can help you to see yourself as you truly are, not how you image yourself to be. It’s the imaginary self that got you into the mess in the first place. Who you are, and how you see yourself can be vastly different. If you make messes for others to clean up, then you aren’t seeing your real self. Authentic people face challenges that will make them a better person, poseurs run to avoid being exposed.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to forgive a person that refuses to see the destruction and devastation that they’ve caused. If they don’t own it, but say their sorry, their apology means nothing. Cleaning up messes means making amends: on the other person’s terms, not yours. Trying to force a relationship is just not going to work, and is just plain wrong.
You can’t leave people high and dry and expect them to be there for you, let alone welcome you back with open arms. Especially after they’ve dealt with your mess and/or messes. That’s not only childish, it’s not fair to the injured party. It also shows a complete lack of empathy. And remember, what comes around goes around.
So what’s the way out? Admission of wrong doing. Telling someone that you did the best you could in a situation that you created isn’t going to cut it. You’ll have to come clean, and risk rejection. Period. If you’re not willing to go out on a limb and accept that you’ll have a lot of amends to make, you shouldn’t even bother. Somethings will take time, and you don’t get to hold the stopwatch. That’s a big one for people who want to feel better about what they’ve done: being able to dictate how long it takes for someone to forgive and accept them. Give that one up, it’s not your call.
Let’s face it, people who make messes tend to be quitters. That’s why they run in the first place. They can’t see that some of the challenges in life are meant to strengthen and change you. If you don’t want to change, you run. And that is the truth. Stop running, eventually you’ll run into a dead end. End of the line where consequences await with their weapons of choice. We can make our own decisions, choices, and take action. But, we don’t get to dictate how others deal with them. That’s what they call, the bigger picture.