I attended a seminar sometime back and recently came across my notes in buried in a book I happened to open. What jumped out at me now—several years later—is what the now-unknown speaker said about groups that people attend for the purpose of improving their lives. This can apply from therapy groups to church groups to anything else in the ball park.
The presenter’s train of thoughts went like this:
We must do more than just tell people how to do the right thing and then hold them accountable. We must collaborate, come alongside, support and encourage each other through our growth processes.
This long-ago presenter finished with a powerful commentary. When groups don’t know how to relate to each other, they don’t know how to encourage, sustain, show acceptance of the other’s process, they tend to emphasize accountability!
When we don’t know how to relate with the positive and meaningful interactions that actually promote interpersonal growth, we retreat into ourselves and become critical, taking potshots at those around us because we subconsciously believe it will make US feel better! So we put them in the hot seat. Can you see the divide-and-conquer thing going on here?
Since change happens by working together, and being honest with ourselves and others–let’s challenge ourselves!
Next time I feel critical, I can remind myself that it is acceptance, collaboration, and encouragement that make the difference. I can choose—again and again—to relate to those around me through this framework. When I can’t let something go, I am putting that person in the hot seat for the purpose of making myself seem a little better. Next time you find yourself in the critical mode, stop and ask yourself, “Do I really want to tromp on people just to toot my own horn and hold forth at the top of the heap? Really?”
Accountability starts at our own back doors—and yes—our shoulders are wide enough to do this. It’s time for us to look in the mirror!
I can choose, practice, and learn to think this way—and so can you!