Finding fault is easy..
Taking responsibility is not.
As young children, we are often quick to point fingers and blame someone else for something that has gone wrong. This is especially true when an adult calls us out for making a mistake or doing a bad deed.
I recall dragging my sisters into the mud with me (literally) at 10 years old, then quickly claiming it was their idea when my parents pulled all three of us out, their faces riddled with expressions that crossed between shock and anger. What could the harm be with playing in the mud? (That was all I could think of at the time.) And how bad is the spanking going to be this time…
As adults, we tend to do the same when the s!@# hits the fan and we are forced to take responsibility that we just might not be ready to deal with. When many of us face life’s challenges that often lead us into feeling inadequate, helpless, or angry, again we are quick to point fingers at the one we deem the fire starter.
Years ago, I realized I did not make the right choice in a lifelong partner. After feeling lost and alone for some time, I started blaming my parents’ divorce, citing the experience as a main cause for my lack of better judgement in the opposite sex. I started attributing setbacks and failures in my life and marriage to an insufficient upbringing with impartial parental guidance.
At that point, it all seemed necessary and as if I was “entitled” to blame someone else for what was happening to me and my failing marriage. Of course I’m sure, there is a little truth to everyone’s past and childhood having an impact on how their lives play out. Yet, the blaming took me nowhere but further away from the truth and only gave me more reason to sit in a dark corner and wallow in self pity.
When a marriage fails, for whatever reason, it is natural for either or both parties to harbor some extent of hurt, anger, guilt, or pain. It is often easy in those moments to put the blame on the other party. It’s not to say that your claims are not true. I’m just saying it does make us feel more justified to sit and wail, or feel sorry for ourselves.
If you have been through an abusive relationship, you should NEVER feel like it is YOUR fault for the failure of your marriage or that you might have triggered the abuse. NO ONE ever deserves to get hurt or abused no matter what the circumstances are. (I touch more on taking responsibility for your life after abuse in my next blog post.)
Often, we hear about spouses, particularly mothers who blame an ex-spouse for not paying enough child support, causing her and the children to live below the lines of poverty or not being able to put food on the table. Yes, it is true that in many states, the amount of child support allocated by percentages set by state standards just isn’t enough to make ends meet. This is particularly so when a mother is not educated or hasn’t been back in the workforce for some time.
However, even in a tough situation like this, we are still able take responsibility (not for the unjust actions of others), but for how we deal and cope with the situations and circumstances we are given. This is tough, it took me years to get through to this point.
Taking responsibility is like saying you will pay for something your kids broke in the store. It wasn’t directly your fault, but they are your kids and your kids are your responsibility. As much as we want the store owner to understand that kids are kids and they just didn’t mean to do it, as parents we apologize for our kids’ behaviors.
Likewise, you may not have caused anything to go wrong, but a decision of yours or a mindset, attitude, or opinion you had might have sparked an argument that quickly got out of hand. Maybe you didn’t want to grow up to be you but you had no choice but to be raised this way, and now that you are matured enough, you are able to identify what’s wrong and try your best to rectify it (like I did).
Responsibility is not something everyone can take. The larger the responsibility, the tougher the person needs to be to take it.
If you take responsibility, you take the actions necessary to make things better.
Once you have decided to take responsibility in your life, you own what you have taken responsibility for – your life. You are no longer under the control of or subjected to how someone wants you to live or feel.
Yes, my parents may be divorced. And yes, I may not have had the childhood every adult wishes they could have had. Yet I am a grown adult with a mind fully capable of deciphering between right and wrong, truth from lie. I am also able to understand that while my decisions may have been influenced partially in some way or other, that the ultimate choice to make was mine, and I made it! Right or wrong, it was my choice.
This was my responsibility to bear.
By understanding this and accepting that I was no longer the 10-year-old who dragged everyone into the mud with me, I now had two choices- accept the consequence to my decision and live with it forever, or fix it in whatever way I could think of, even if I had to walk away.
Taking responsibility empowers you
“Ding!” It was like a bell went off when the food was ready! A true moment of enlightenment in the midst of sorrow.
I was empowered.
Why? Because I was given two choices to make. Just when I felt like I was caught and trapped, and had no way in or out of any mistake I have ever made, the genie came out of the lamp and gave me two choices (redemption perhaps?).
With any one of those choices, there were more choices, and more choices… And soon, I was the decision-maker of my life again! Instead of being thrown into corners with choices that I never had a say over, I was given more options and showed more doors than I could ever imagine. I was in control of my own life and it felt good. No, I should say GREAT!
Empowerment is a special thing. It gives people the ability and authority to stand up for what they believe in or to make decisions and choices even if no one else might agree with it. Empowerment is also a key to giving voice to abused women and children.
Unknowingly, layers of hurt and not-being-good-enough peeled away as each step of being empowered kicked in. Sooner than I expected, I was making plans for the next year ahead, weighing out pros and cons of big decisions, and patting myself on the back for how far I have gone in life.
My, Myself, and I
As I am exploring this new journey of “responsibility” that I chose to bear, I will continue to share the ups and downs as I experience them, in the hope that you too can find the strength in you to own your life and make a difference in your situation.
Have you taken responsibility in a tough situation and saw things getting better for you since then?
About Rock Star Mums. Rock Star Mums is a blog that strives to bring hope, purpose, and strength to single mothers in their battles to raise smart, happy, healthy children. Becca, founder and writer of Rock Star Mums, is a mother, motivator, and educator of two young children in California. Read A Letter from Becca.