“Sometimes you screw up and make a mistake. What do you do? You have had times when either you have hurt somebody else or yourself. Do you own up to it? Do you blame others or do you blame yourself? It is easy to do. What do you do? Do you take responsibility?
After all is said and done if you did it or didn’t do what you were supposed to it IS your responsibility. It is your responsibility. Let that sink in. It is your responsibility. No one else is responsible but you.
It Is Your Responsibility BUT Not Your Fault.
These are not the same. Responsibility means it is up to you. It suggests you have a burden or obligation to follow through on. You do, this is true. You should be responsible to yourself and others. You should keep your word.
Accountability (to be accountable) means you are answerable for or liable for the actions. You are. If you follow through or not on your word, whatever the outcome, you are answerable for your actions. There may be consequences. Usually there are.
Fault, as a noun, means responsible as in ‘I am responsible. It is my fault’. Fault as a verb means to criticize, condemn, attack, and censure. Typically, fault means to blame. Stop blame!
If you are responsible for something and you don’t do it you should accept you did not do it. You are both responsible and accountable. You are answerable to and for your obligation. The buck stops with you. You should not blame others nor should you blame yourself.
You Are Responsible You Are Accountable But Without Blame
Blame is an added on reaction that has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with others. It is something you learned to do from others while growing up. In blaming other people you seek to escape the consequences for your actions. You did not, nor do you, want to be punished. No one does, typically.
Parents, peers, teachers, friends have and blamed you while telling you you were responsible and accountable for your actions. The two were unfortunately paired. As a result when things go wrong you look for someone to blame. This should stop! Finding fault is not the key to positive personal development.
You don’t have to blame yourself to accept responsibility and accountability for actions. When you blame yourselves you punish yourself. You learned to be critical, to condemn and to be hard on yourself.
The original intent, most likely, was to insure you don’t escape the consequences of your actions. The intent may have been worthwhile but what you learned to do while growing up resulted in bad feelings, poor self image and self esteem. You can learn to be loving, kind, gentle and permissive instead.
Stop Blaming Yourself
If you tell someone you will call them and you don’t. Accept responsibility and be accountable. Call them and apologize. Make good on your promise. Make no excuses, don’t blame yourself or anything else. Own up!
Be willing to state, ‘I didn’t do it. I am sorry I dropped the ball’. Then make good on it. Do what is necessary to repair the situation. Accept responsibility, apologize and never repeat the same mistake twice.
Repair the situation if you are able. If you are not able to (for whatever the reason) then do whatever you have to do to set it straight. Leave the person you let down better off than before. Never leave someone worse off! Make full amends then go the extra mile.
Then, privately, pat yourself on the back for owing up to it and following through with your original intentions. Pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for making good without excuses or blame.
Acknowledge that you took responsibility, owned up, made good, corrected the situation and feel good. Enjoy these good feelings. OWN them! The positive feelings are important! Embrace them!
As you continue the practice of acknowledging yourself positively when you do take responsibility you will learn a new response to it. You will encourage these behaviors to become new habits for you.
Encourage What You Want To Be Able To Do
When you want a baby or toddler to repeat behaviors, if you are a loving parent, you nurture the behavior through encouragement and reward. You help the child feel good about what the child is learning to do. You want good feelings! You praise and promote the child.
Creating pain and punishment leads to fear, helplessness and in some cases hopelessness. Sadly, after the child learns the behaviors, too many people then hold the child accountable and blame if child doesn’t perform as expected. This cycle is repeated in families and by teachers and peers from ancient times to today. It is how we learned to find fault, accuse and blame.
If you try to do something for yourself or family and it doesn’t work out understand that blaming yourself doesn’t help you. Take responsibility and be accountable. That helps! Blame, self criticism, self condemnation, calling yourself names, feeling bad does not. Blame adds insult to injury. Blame is negative.
Find A Way To Release Yourself From Self Blame.
If you want to clean the garage or organize your office or home space but you typically don’t follow through it is easy to fall into self blame. Here’s what you can do when you promise yourself that you will do something. Whatever it is you want to do. If you say you are going to do something – do some thing!
Take tiny steps. Don’t commit to doing it all by a certain deadline. Take it piece by piece. Break it down into easy, manageable tasks that you can easily do. Make it a point that you are going to pick up or throw out or put away one item each time you enter and leave the room.
This is possible. This is completely do-able! It may take longer to get the room cleaned but each time you do something, you want to and intend to do, you can feel good that you are moving in the right direction. You are creating some forward momentum.
Create Small Wins And Doable Actions
You promised yourself you will read inspirational material 30 minutes a day but you don’t. You let yourself down. You broke your promise. Instead of blame or feeling bad commit to less time. Commit to few minutes. How about 5minutes. If you can’t do that 1 minute.
How about a page? One page, a single page. You COULD do that! Put books in the bathroom and read while in there. Take a book with you wherever you go. Read when you can’t do anything else or when there is nothing else to do. You are stopped at a railroad crossing – read! While waiting for someone, or your coffee or meal -read!
If you want to gain or lose weight or change your eating habits. Break it into tiny steps you can easily do and keep doing. Maybe you want to exercise more or relax more. You want to save more money. You want to think more positively. Anything you can think of.
Whatever you want to accomplish you can do. Make it manageable. Remember, drop by drop fills the tub. It is bette to have small wins often than big loses.
It is better to encourage yourself bit by bit than condemning yourself repeatedly for not following through. You can do this for yourself and you can help others to do it for you as well. Win big overall by gathering little wins along the way.
If you are always succeeding you won’t be blaming and criticizing yourself. When you drop that, when you let it go, and you love and enjoy yourself life becomes so much better. You are so much more free to be, do and have anything you want in life.
Next blog I’ll discuss how you might handle it, what you can do, when others let you down.
How To Easily Make And Keep Positive Changes
Learn to keep your promise to yourself. The key to learning and changing and making the changes you want to make and keeping them is this: Do the right things, consistently, long enough. Put into practice your positive practices. DO them! Repeat them correctly, consistently over time and you will make them new reliable habits.
Stop blaming yourself. Stop finding fault. Release yourself. Acknowledge, praise and encourage. The more you do the more you will be able to do. The more often you become aware of opportunity the more opportunities you will discover. Accept mistakes. Be responsible and accountable, correct and move forward.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make it manageable and you can do anything. The tallest building in your neighborhood was built one brick or board at a time. Each day construction workers did a little bit more until one day the building was completed. YOU can do this too!
Be delighted. Make your tasks and your promises ones you can succeed at. Then you will never fail! As you do this you will discover so much more that adds delight and enjoyment to your daily experience. It feels good to be winning. Celebrate and enjoy it! ” Rex Sikes
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*Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.
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