Have you ever noticed that when you focus on the faults or mistakes of others, you get nothing but resentment, anger, emotional collisions, or a chilled response from others?
So often, when we navigate the challenges and problems in relationships with others, it is tempting to focus on the other. “Of course, the issue can’t possibly be my fault! Therefore, it must be yours!” we tell ourselves. And then defensiveness and chaos begin…and escalates to further blame, and even shame, usually in all directions…and the relationships suffer, or die. Certainly, most of us have been there at some time in our lives, with our friends, colleagues, children and even our spouses.
The remedy is simple, but not easy. Refuse to blame. Refuse to shame. When tempted to do either, replace that approach with a more productive response…TAKE RESPONSIBILTY.
Taking responsibility does not mean caving to another’s demands or point of view. It means being responsible for your own behaviors, your own thoughts and emotions, and your own assumptions about things, and your own part in the relationship, regardless of the actions and behaviors of others. It means exercising the power of getting to the “now”, present tense reality, and deciding to deal with that “now” in a productive, helpful way.
Taking responsibility for self in an emotional collision is hard, but part of being an adult and a professional.
The next time you are tempted to blame someone else for issues and problems, try it! Decide to take responsibility in some way, and see what happens…let me know how it works!