Taking responsibility for our choices—when they don’t work out like we imagined—is sometimes a difficult thing to do. Often, even our bestintentions result in offending or hurting another person.
Then there are the times when we make a poor choice right from the start. We lash out from feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, jealousy, fear, disappointment, or our perception of being misunderstood, blamed or deemed guilty.
How easy it is to react defensively and give back hostility in our misguided effort to support our words or actions. More often than not, we continue to defend our poor choice. In fact, it is my assertion that the stronger we feel the need to defend our own position, the greater the possibility that—DEEP DOWN—we are aware of our own fault in the situation!
However, taking responsibility for our choices and righting our wrongs toward others are actions that have the power to diffuse even the most challenging conflict. In my individual counseling practice, I often speak to clients about ‘owning’ responsibility for their part in a conflict with another. The willingness to speak from a place of vulnerability for your role can alter the exchange dramatically and facilitate understanding and compassion.
“I am sorry.” “Iwas wrong.” “I misunderstood you.” “I made an assumption that was incorrect.” “I was only thinking about myself.” “I did not mean to hurt you.”
When was the last time you truly owned your actions?