These days we hear a lot about our carbon footprints. Carbon footprints are considered one way of measuring how much pollution each of our individual actions generate into the environment. The macro eco-sensitive among us worry about landfills, sea trash, and even space junk, while the micro-eco sensitive write letters to Monsanto and scour the produce aisle for organic veggies.
But what about the emotional eco-system that we share with others? How deep is your carbon footprint among those around you? Our planet is not the only thing that careless actions pollute. The same thing happens in our relationships. When it comes to human interactions, we all make occasional mistakes; we say the wrong thing, do something thoughtless, or unintentionally act in ways that are insensitive to those around us. The eco-systems of our relationships can also suffer from things that remain unsaid. Yes, it turns out that the proverbial elephant in the living room leaves quite a carbon footprint…)
Individually these tiny steps never seem earth shattering; just an inappropriate comment here and a lapse of common sense there and it’s no big deal, right? Perhaps. Sometimes our mistakes or omissions are biodegradable- meaning that things like an apology or taking responsibility for our bad actions allow for a redemption and a healing. Other transgressions can be more immutable- and if our wrong doings remain unclaimed, they begin to pile-up in what is the equivalent of an emotional landfill.
If we continue to be careless with our behaviors and trash those around us in small ways, eventually the relationship becomes polluted and dirty and not capable of sustaining life.
Think about the carbon footprints you are leaving on those around you. Are you dropping little bombs and thinking that perhaps no one is noticing the mushroom clouds on the horizon? Or are you avoiding necessary conversations and allowing emotional litter to pile up around you? The trash that we allow into our interpersonal relationships is not biodegradable, and once someone has had their fill, even if you eventually decide to embark on a cleaning spree, by then they may not be willing to recycle the relationship.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all commit to sustainable living in our relationships… and just go green?