I’m gonna be vague here, because if I wasn’t, I might be misconstrued.
I have what I like to call certain allergies. From what I know about allergies, they can come or go over a person’s lifespan, they can be directly or indirectly related to incompatibilities between a person’s system and various substances/processes/foods, and they can run the gamut of innocuous to deadly.
Thankfully, I have no deadly allergies like others do, but I do have to be very careful because, as I’ve found out the hard way, I am very susceptible to the effects of certain things in my life.
With some things that have proven harmful to myself, I’ve been able to simply eradicate their presence from my life. I no longer drink or use other mind-altering substances and I’ve toned down my reckless driving and sport activities.
I’ve also worked very hard at minimizing the presence of those things in my life that I can’t categorically remove. This leads to the point of this post.
For those things that I’ve successfully minimized but not completely removed, I have to _always_ remember that there may never be a time where I can risk exposure to that allergen. For today, I have to assume that I will have a violent and harmful reaction that is out of my control and I have to take full responsibility for that fact.
I mean, wouldn’t it suck to have an allergy to strawberries, then die at a five star restaurant because there were strawberry seeds used as a garnish? Wouldn’t it suck to be sober for twenty years, then have a beer and kill someone while driving home? Wouldn’t it suck to leave a company and be rid of a toxic coworker, and then have that person confront you at Starbucks?
On the flip side, if I know that I am a source of potential damage and discomfort to a person or situation, I need to be cognizant of that fact and, if I must participate, be sensitive and compassionate of my impact. Regardless of whether I am aware of this or not, I am inevitably responsible for my part in the effects.
Of course, there are varying degrees of sensitivity and effect, but the dynamic still holds true.