I’ve spent my entire life blaming other things for my misdoings.
I ate your entire loaf of Cottage Bread last night while making toast on the George Foreman? I blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol. I cried during every scene of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? I blame it on my intense emotional monthly girly pains. I was pulled over doing 58 in a 40 on my way home from work? I blame it on my lead foot and my dire need to catch the last five minutes of Glee. I got in an argument with my man-friend in front of a breakfast buffet at a hotel downtown at 6:30 a.m…. in front of an innocent family? Totally his fault.
The sad thing about the entire previous paragraph is the fact that all of the things above actually happened to me in the last week. I promise, I’m a grown up graduate!
Anyway, after reading that embarrassing list of faux pas, I’ve reached a revelation in my life: taking responsibility for my actions. I need to stop passing blame on others/alcohol/my emotions and finally take the blame for myself. This seems like a simple philosophy; didn’t I learn that in daycare fifteen years ago when I learned I was falling off the slide because I wasn’t, in fact, Wonderwoman?
The thing is, I’ve finally discovered that responsibility is more than just having it. While I should be responsible, I need to learn to step forward and take responsibility for things I do. I mean, looking back, my man-friend did not deserve my rapid arm gestures that nearly knocked over the dry croissants at the hotel breakfast buffet the other morning.
Obviously, owning up to my own actions is most important when it comes to my big-girl job. I can’t point my finger at my co-workers about something that could be my fault. I’m not going to lie, I let a few group projects in college pass without owning up to my own mistakes. I figured if I didn’t say anything, my group members would assume someone else messed up, kind of like the ‘whoever smelt it dealt it’ scenario. But that shiz doesn’t work in the real world. Not when there are real problems that need to be solved and my career to consider.
But taking responsibility doesn’t end at 5 o’clock when I speed home from work so I can watch Friends reruns; it’s important in my relationship as well. For example, instead of getting completely twisted when my man-friend gets mad at me for “no reason,” I need to look at things from his perspective. What am I missing? Did I do something to get the ball rolling towards total buffet warfare? If I sit back and take responsibility for saying the wrong words to offend him (as opposed to assuming everything is his fault) that leaves a lot of room for growth and understanding. Both for myself and for my relationship.
New life outlook considered, one thing I want to remain aware of is that my growing sense of responsibility should not be confused with a growing sense of guilt. Although I may be responsible for some wrongdoings, that does not mean I should feel guilty when I mess up. I make mistakes, just like everyone else in this world. Taking responsibility for absolutely everything shouldn’t be my main concern; I just want to be aware of the fact that I’m not always blameless and that some of the things that happen in my life are indeed because of me.
Of course, that being said, I will try not to apologize too often for failing to maintain a perfectly trimmed “responsibility garden.” Conquering responsibilities does not mean I should let anyone walk all over me. I need to learn to stand up for myself and make a real effort to be around those who appreciate me just the way I am. A responsible adult.