I imagine most people tend to think of themselves as an ethical person. They are confident their inherent nature and actions show them to be ethically conscious. Perhaps for some, they feel compelled from a deeper place within, as though ethics are a reflection of their deeper character; for others, perhaps they are upholding a religious standard; along with what is learned through our family. But what about our ethics during turmoil?
Have you ever been in a situation where you have felt so grossly mistreated, or internally triggered by another person’s words or actions, that you secretly wished them ill? Perhaps you have nudged the car parked too close to the yellow line with your car door and decided not to leave a note, believing they were clearly in the wrong? Perhaps you have responded harshly to someone being what you felt was rude to you? Perhaps you have muttered something under your breath, knowing if it was heard it would have a hurtful impact? Perhaps you have foregone tidying your ethical garden by justifying it within the circumstances?
Well, ethics definitely are rarely as simple as black and white; circumstances certainly influence them, and our beliefs of what are considered ethical actions. I, most certainly, do not have the answers, but what I’d prefer to focus on is how my choices and actions define my personal ethics; the ones I allow to define me. It is possible that we allow our judgments and opinions to slow us from cultivating our own ethical garden to accurately reflect the person we aspire to be.
I recently had my ethics called into question, and I have to say, it was quite hurtful. I believe myself to be of ethical awareness and considerate of others. In fact, I believe that most people you would ask about me would also consider me an ethical person. What I decided to turn my attention to was finding the lesson. I began to look on my life as though it were a garden, and take note of where the weeds of anger and frustration surrounding this event had sprouted up. While I hold the personal belief that I have done nothing unethical, I can admit that my heart was indeed colored with non-loving emotions, and this is where tending is still needed. What I want to be clear about here is that your garden has nothing to do with anyone but yourself. It’s about cultivating your heart to bring into your life the fruits of your love and desires; it’s about aligning with the person you are growing to become. This garden tending is for you. It’s not to fix the situation, or to show the other person how amazing you are; it’s not about ego, it’s about love – self-love.
Feeling tainted in thought by the actions or words of another gives away valuable space in our garden that we could be using to grow ourselves more full, or internally nourished. When I focus my attention on the vegetables of my emotions; tending with consciousness over them, watering them with an open mind; observing and appreciating their development, acquiring successful tools, singing to them with love… this is when my garden represents the truest part of me, and the woman I am aligning myself to be. Also, consider this: Your mind creates your emotions. When you run turmoil through your mind on repeat; playing back situations, looking to point a finger, finding the loop hole that proves we you right; this is triggering you body’s physiological responses, and you are directly adding stress into your life. You are adding it; no one else. You are choosing the emotions you are feeling by what you are tending in your garden. If those emotions of anger are planted and watered regularly, they will grow, and your garden will no longer be a reflection of your truths, or your spirit.
Yes, you want to allow the gamut of emotions into your life. You want to feel anger when anger is appropriate; it’s crucial to not bury your emotions. What I am suggesting is not to till the weeds of anger under, but rather accept that weeds will grow in a garden throughout your lifetime, but to make it a priority to also learn the ways that help you not to water them, or bury them, but rather genuinely remove them from your garden.
I encourage you to look at your garden and see what is growing. Is it a reflection of the person you are proud to be? Keep reaching for the tools you’ve been harnessing, and help your inner garden thrive so you are growing all that you intend and desire to.