Acceptance – Bearly Guilty

June 14, 2015 Acceptance


During the Vietnam War, the American press began giving a daily body count of how many Vietcong, South Vietnamese and Americans died that day. I mean no disrespect in making this analogy, but I get reminded of it by my wife after I have mowed the lawn. I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the names of flowers, but she sometimes gives me a similar list of those who have met their demise at my hand.

We have quite a big yard broken up into several gardens. Heidi took me over to where a large bunch of irises normally enjoy their days basking in the sun near the dogwood tree. There was no police tape to mark it off but it was obviously the scene of the crime. One did not need to be a forensics expert to see that the destruction was not caused by natural means. A large area of normally upright stems now laid in repose crushed by some wanton force. Those nearest the lawn, and sprayed with telltale grass clippings, clearly had their tops chewed off.

I had no idea how this could have happened but, as I had been the only one into that garden over the preceding days, I apologized. Apologies do not come easy for many people, neither do accepting accusations. I struggled with both when I was young and very unsure of myself.

How do you react to accusations?

  1. Do you look for a way to not accept any blame by accusing someone else?
  2. If you are definitely guilty, do you look deflect the responsibility by offering an excuse for what happened?
  3. Do you do the right thing by accepting responsibility, offering an apology if it is deemed necessary, and taking corrective action not to repeat it.

Most people probably do all three depending on the circumstances and the severity of whatever consequences may ensue.

  • Accusing others, of course, is totally dishonest. It also is vindictive in that it seeks to cause harm to someone who is innocent.
  • Making excuses is also dishonest, not only to who you are trying to convince, but to yourself as well. It is a terrible habit to get into as it always blames something or someone else for everything that goes wrong.
  • Accepting responsibility, is always the best recourse as everyone makes mistakes.

We all exhibit poor judgment from time to time and, yes, the influence of others and the circumstances surrounding what you said or did will definitely have an input. Regardless of that, you are still guilty. It was still you who made the mess and didn’t clean it up or forgot to do something you promised to do.

Men, in particular, have difficulty when it comes to making an apology. It has to do with lowering our testosterone, lowering our status, and lowering our self-esteem. Learning to be honest about our mistakes, however, raises all those things again by accepting that we are not perfect, we all responsible and we are honest.

In addition to stepping up in this manner, a handy line for men to use when dealing with their female partner is to say, “I’ve been insensitive.” Of course, you are, you are a man. Women know this but like to hear it anyway.

The morning after my admission of guilt, Heidi apologized to me. She had just walked through the garden and recognized the distinctive musky odour of a bear. It is that time of year when they go roaming and must have found the iris bed to be a good place to spend the night.

My admission of guilt was shelved as no doubt I will screw up in some small way (I don’t do the big ones anymore) and use it another day.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
Lao Tzu

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