I asked if someone if she would let me know if she needed something. At least she answered honestly, “Probably not, but that’s on me, not you.”
In reality, I wanted to grab her shoulders and gently shake her. Sometimes we need to jump in and help because getting involved is the crossroads between compassion and need. But compassion help looks different at times, especially when we’re invested for the long haul and get to know the ebb and flow of a person’s struggles. Sometimes, a a gentle shaking is a nudge that says, “Look around. Be grateful. Put yourself aside. Reach out for help. Explore with a different perspective.”
I’m not suggesting the approach in every situation. In fact, I decided it wasn’t a wise choice for the conversation I was in. I will wait for another situation. Sometimes accountability needs time to soak.
In the current culture that justifies harsh anger, we too easily distort accountability. We think accountability is getting in someone’s face and trying to force truth upon them. But that’s not helpful. We weaken or the demolish the influence we have. We harm the other person and tarnish our own reputations. We can be better. We need to be better.
Let’s engage with people. Let’s ask them what they need. Let’s consider their response might not be an accurate reflection of what they need, and let’s be mindful of how we react. Let’s maintain healthy relationships that are characterized by honesty, patience, and kindness. That means we have to maintain our own character and be willing to grow in truth, patience, and kindness. It means we have to stay alert and embrace both humility and courage.
It’s possible. And it’s essential.
We all need something. Let’s help each other.