When was the last time you took responsibility for mucking something up? Think about it for a moment.
The last time your boss or spouse came up to you with a complaint of some sorts, did you say “yes, that was me,” or did you try and sugarcoat the blow? Maybe by saying “well I didn’t know,” or “you didn’t tell me how,” or possibly outright denying it?
It’s ok. It’s human nature. We have a deeply rooted need to feel safe, and taking blame…being responsible…feels unsafe.
These days there is a lot of blaming and pointing fingers. We can see it in just about every sector of our society: from politics to families, wars and poverty, in businesses where the boss blames the employee and the employee blames the boss.
Every where we look we see people saying it’s not their fault, and instead looking for someone to blame.
Not only is this enormously disempowering, but it’s also extremely deprecating and damaging to us on an individual level as well as a collective level.
By disempowering ourselves, we are teaching that to our kids.
By teaching our kids to be disempowered, they become victims.
Victims are reliant on external sources for their well being.
If we are constantly relying on external sources for everything (happiness, fulfillment, success, joy, peace), then we cannot actually have anything for ourselves, and so the cycle continues.
Is that really the way you want to live? Do you want your life to depend on other people? On other circumstances, often times outside of your control? That’s an awful lot of your power to give away…
So where does this come from? As was stated above, it’s a natural response, created by a millennia of instincts and programming. Humans are social creatures, and one of the biggest underlying fears is being cast out of our tribe, our community.
When we feel like our worth, our value, is threatened, we take steps to protect ourselves, ensuring that we keep our belonging, our spot in the proverbial cave. Often, those steps mean making someone else look wrong, and asserting our “rightness.” If we can hang onto our value, we’re safe.
That’s the lizard part of the brain thinking, so it may not seem all that logical. And when confronted with something that threatens us, that’s the part of the brain we most easily react from.
It’s the equivalent of having a 7 year old make all the most important decisions for us. Not the best way to go about life.
So how do we change this?
Slowly, over time, with awareness and discomfort.
Not the answer you were hoping for, right?
Yeah, me neither. And it’s the truth.
So we might as well get started now by letting that in! No one else is going to do it for us, so we might as well step up and lead the way! That’s why we’re here after all, right? To be leaders? To improve the life of ourselves and those around us.
Well, it starts with owning it.
Can you imagine a world where blame didn’t exist? What would that even look like? Imagine that, instead of looking for someone to roast, we looked for what there was to learn from a mistake. And that can only happen when we own it, cause no one else will.
We need to be willing to look bad, and take the blame, even if we’re not in the wrong, because most people are too fixated on who to blame, that there is no space for a lesson to exist.
By owning it, we can create that space and we can then find a lesson and create a magnificent solution.
How would it be if we each took 100% responsibility for our experience?
- Spouse comes up, unhappy because you didn’t do the laundry, and instead of saying “well you didn’t tell me you wanted it done,” you say, “you’re right, I saw that the hamper was full and I didn’t do it. From now on, when the laundry gets to this level, I will start a load.” Think that would revolutionize your relationship? Probably.
- Your boss comes up and says “the copy machine is out of paper and you were the last one to use. Fill it up next time.” While inside, you could be thinking “no, it wasn’t me, that person just printed off a novel right after I used it for one sheet” and instead you choose to say “sure thing boss, and maybe we can make a sign that reminds people along with making the printing paper easily accessible to refill?”
- You ask your son about his homework and he says he didn’t do it. Instead of blaming him and making him feel bad about not doing it, ask him “can we sit down and do it together?” or “will you teach me what you’re learning?”
So what are you going to do to take responsibility for your experience? Will you be one of the few leaders who steps up, beyond the pettiness of looking good and being safe in order to create a life for freedom for yourself and others?
Leave a comment below and let others know what you will do to OWN IT! Thanks for reading!