“I am responsible” manifesto. An empowering tool to create and heal human connections.
Here is mine. What would yours look like?
The best Christmas gift I’ve ever received
Last Christmas, I sent a short letter to a group of friends and colleagues I used to work with for many years.
Almost everyone replied to my message, but I got one response that brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it and keeps giving me goosebumps.
It went like this:
“Vale, if I have you as a friend, I feel good and safe in this world. All the conversations we’ve had in the past are part of me and still support me, even when we don’t speak for a while.”
I believe a lot of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances like to tell me their stories because I can listen attentively and emphatically. They know they can trust me. But most importantly, they know I won’t judge them.
Recently, I’ve asked myself a question: what makes a connection worth pursuing, nurturing and sustaining over time? I don’t have all the answers but I can certainly say that I feel so fulfilled by the vast majority of my connections that I cannot be grateful enough.
Each one with its contribution.
Each one with with its beautiful colors and nuances.
Each one offers me the opportunity to be at the same a teacher and a student.
Here’s is my “human connections” manifesto. Here’s my commitment.
I am responsible.
I am responsible for my actions, opinions, even thoughts. And you are responsible for yours. However, if we want to have a healthy connection, we both must hold ourselves accountable to create the context for the other to feel heard, safe, respected… loved, if you prefer.
My responsibility is to tell you the truth. No, better, my truth. Because all I can do is depict how I perceive the world. And that is clearly not an absolute. It is simply what I see.
But I promise I’ll do my best to critically look in the mirror and regularly challenge my opinions, my attitudes and my beliefs, particularly when my body tells me they are a source of negative energies.
It is also my responsibility to be peaceful enough, within, to accept your truth, whatever that might be. This means I’ll make an effort to relinquish my judgement, when you tell me your stories.
I want you to feel comfortable telling me what’s in your mind. Even when you think I may not like it. Even if it makes you feel vulnerable.
I am responsible for my mistakes and my flaws. I may not recognize all of them. I’ll need your help to observe them compassionately and let me know gently the things you see in me that I don’t see. Those things that you think, if addressed, can improve my life experience and/or our connection.
I call it feedback. I can offer this to you, if you wish. Would you do that for me too?
I am available to support you emotionally and practically when you need it.
I will be the shoulder you can cry on, I will help you carry the weights (real or metaphorical), will cheer for you when you face challenges. I’ll do what’s in my power to make you feel that you’re not alone.
I am response-able. It means I am able-to-respond. This doesn’t mean that sometimes I will not re-act. My reactions might be an expression of my fears, my expectations or the programming that someone had imposed on me when I was relatively new to this world, unaware and vulnerable.
However, I am responsible to work on myself to be less reactive and develop my ability to consciously choose my response.
Your support on my path of self-discovery is a gift. Thanks for being part of it.
Feeling responsible for all the outcomes of my life can be overwhelming, at times. But the thing is, it’s empowering too.
I know there are so many things I cannot control: I must educate myself to accept them.
But I also know the number of options I have is infinite, every time I make even the most trivial choice. And this is true creative power.
Your life, my friend, is your responsibility. Embrace it. If you do so, you’ll see in yourself the infinite spectrum of opportunities I see in you.
You’ll see in yourself the space for creation I can observe when I look at you with peace of mind.
And, jointly, we’ll be more than we are as separate.