~By ReRe Sandalwood, The SL Parade’s Founder and Editor-In-Chief~
Last Saturday, the girl upstairs flooded my apartment and damaged my mattress, box spring, and linen. She also damaged my leather couch and caused brown, standing water to overflow into my living room, hallway and my bedroom. Though this is not the first time she has flooded my apartment, the third time must have been the charm because the damage was more immense and expensive.
When I confronted her about the damage, she was nonchalant about it…so nonchalant that it took her 15 minutes to answer her door. Once she opened the door, she casually held a blunt in her hand, while she carelessly explained that her washer machine had over flowed and that she would call maintenance. I then told her that I had already called maintenance, and was appalled that she had not done so as soon as her washer machine overflowed.
Though I wanted to lay hands on her, I angrily told her about the damage she caused to my apartment. While she stood in her apartment’s doorway, seemingly high and oblivious to the havoc her carelessness caused, I quickly walked away, fuming. I knew that if I would have stood in that hallway any longer, I would have done something I would regret later.
To this day, she has not not even bothered to apologize for her negligence, let alone offer to help pay for the damages incurred in my apartment.
Be Accountable for You Actions
Though I am still going through this seemingly never ending, damaged-based disaster, it made me realize something: when we do something wrong, we must hold ourselves accountable and do what is necessary to either correct the problem, or minimize it. Had she expressed a sincere apology, as well as offered to come downstairs to help me get the yellow, standing water off my floors, both actions would constitute being accountable for what happened.
Being accountable is not always about admitting you are wrong, either. It is about taking a proactive step toward correcting a situation in such a way where all parties feel as if they won throughout the process. Furthermore, accountability is an action-oriented thing that is meant to offer positive results to all parties involved via self analysis and self growth.
Self growth, according to the Psychologist Anywhere, Anytime website, is also known as self-development or personal growth, and involves the growth and enhancement of all aspects of a person, as well as about the feelings that person has about himself or herself, not to mention their effectiveness in living (Psychologist Anywhere, Anytime). It includes the development of positive life skills and the development of a realistic and healthy self-esteem as well (Psychologist Anywhere, Anytime).
In turn, this self growth allows a person to also empathize with another person’s situation and/or plight, because self growth allows all involved to learn and better understand something from the other party’s perspective. Of course, there has to be a willingness and desire to learn, as well as a desire to apply what you learned to your daily living. In this sense, being accountable also involves being emotionally mature.
According to Coaching Positive Performance’s article entitled, “12 Signs of Maturity,” Emotional maturity refers to your ability to understand, and manage, your emotions. Emotional maturity enables you to create the life you desire. A life filled with happiness and fulfilment. You define success in your own terms, not society’s, and you strive to achieve it.
While I am still learning how emotional maturity co-relates to having a positive life, I do understand how important it is…despite being guilty of wanting to ring the girl upstairs’ neck. Specifically, it took a lot of emotional maturity to walk away from her, rather than physically confront her about her gross irresponsibility and negligence. Yet, as a human, it is not always possible to walk away from a situation where you feel wronged…as I have learned while being an active SL community member.
Is Accountability Needed in SL? YES!
The anger, hurt and frustration I felt toward the girl that flooded my apartment are the same feelings I have felt while playing Second Life. However, my feelings of angst have specifically manifested itself while interacting with other SL community members, specifically with the men inworld. To be honest, there are many men (specifically black men who choose to play Second Life) inworld that view female sl community members as disposable commodities to be toyed with until their personal playtime is over. Protecting their own interests, many inworld will juggle several women at a time; then, when things become a little unsettling for them, they go back to their Second Life (and perhaps their primary love interest) as if nothing happened.
While both the SL and RL communities often encourage men to behave in this fashion toward the opposite sex, it is important to note that being accountable is also applicable in romantic relationships. We are responsible for our own accountability, more so when it comes to infidelity in rl and in sl. This holds true in SL-based situations, as well as in instances like when the girl upstairs from me flooded my apartment.
In fact, one of many ways to be accountable is by being honest of your intentions with others. If you are dating other women, it is important to be upfront about that and avoid tagging a woman along while you enjoy playing the field.
Yet, all dating aside, it is also important to note that holding yourself accountable is a daily struggle we all have to contend with. This is because we are all human, and can often allow emotions to override reason. I guess, in this sense, accountability is also about forgiving yourself when you falter, as well as using that as an opportunity to grow, learn and eventually prosper.
Centered Self: Life Centered Blog by Nadia.
“12 Signs of Maturity,” Coaching Positive Performance’s website.
“Personal Growth and Development” Definition. Psychologist Anywhere, Anytime website.