How accountability can save us from humiliation
We all may have some unhealthy habits that we grapple with. We may overcome them temporarily, but eventually we relapse. How can we protect ourselves?
Ultimately, through purification, wherein the impure desires that impel us to wrongdoing are purged from our consciousness (Bhagavad-gita 06.28). However, such purification takes time (06.25). Till we become purified, we need to avail of a vital protector: association. If we are around people who we value and whose values are similar to ours, then their very presence will deter us from improper indulgence.
What if we can’t be with them constantly? Then we need to select one of them — a trustworthy, confidentiality-respecting friend — and request them to become our accountability partner. That means we periodically give them an account of our struggles, lapses and successes in our war with temptation. Whenever we are tempted, just knowing that we will have to confess to them may deter us from indulging. Even if we do succumb, admitting it to them and hearing their appropriate words — of disappointment, reproach, empathy, encouragement, advice — will reorient us.
Baring our heart with its weaknesses and our life with its lapses to another human being requires humility. Lest that makes us reluctant, we can contemplate the probable alternative: humiliation. If our indulgences are unchecked, they will eventually be detected by people who may, intentionally or unintentionally, gossip about them. And in today’s digitally connected culture, gossip can get exaggerated, distorted and propagated across the world in no time.
Isn’t it better to be chastised and corrected by our well-wishers than be condemned and ridiculed by the world? By choosing unpalatable humility over unbearable humiliation, we can make ourselves accountable, thereby progressing toward purification and freedom.
Though making ourselves accountable requires humility, it saves us from humiliation.
Think it over:
- How can making ourselves accountable help us?
- How can we overcome our reluctance to make ourselves accountable?
- Do you need an accountability partner for dealing with any unhealthy habit? Whom can you choose?
06.25: Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image
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