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Accepting Responsibility

When I was four years old, I hid behind the bathroom door waiting to scare my mother as she walked by while vacuuming. Feeling full of myself I placed my lips through the crack in the hinge of the door making noises to my mother, knowing that she could not hear me. This worked in the beginning as a benefit but later lead to my demise. When my mother walked past the door, vacuum drowning out any and all noise coming from the bathroom, she closed the bathroom door sealing my lips in the hinge. Being four years old, my arms were not long enough to reach handle to open the door to free my lips. I pounded on the door hoping my mother would hear me and save me, but she did not.  Seconds felt like minutes until eventually my mother stopped vacuuming and heard me pounding on the door and eventually opened it. Too prideful, even at a young age, I did not cry but immediately placed blame on my mother, how could she close her sweet baby girl’s lips in the hinge of the door?! After asking her this question, my mother looked at me with only the slightest of sympathy, which I now realize was her trying not to laugh at the situation, and turned the table on me when she asked “Why did you put your lips in the door?” ” What did you think was going to happen by putting your lips in the door?” And “What were you trying to accomplish by putting in your lips through the door?” I remember getting angry with her thinking she was missing the point, did she not realize she was the one who inflicted the pain? I was a victim, I should have been picked up, hugged, kissed and been given a cookie to ease to pain as she begged for my forgiveness. None of these things happened, instead I learned a very important life lesson at the ripe age of four; be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. If you are unhappy with the outcome of your actions, you only have yourself to blame.

This lesson has not only helped me while growing up but also as an adult. Every person has the amazing power to control their own future. With the right action, strategic thinking, tweaking the plan when needed and taking full responsibility of what happens, controlling the future is possible. This sounds like something that everyone would love to have, complete control of their future, but surprisingly not everyone does.  As much as people love the idea of having such power and control, the responsibility and accountability scare them. Some times so much, they give up that power so they can blame someone else when things don’t go as they planned. Their thinking is, I didn’t fail me, you did. Sadly, the opposite is true, you failed you because you were not willing to step up to the plate, take a chance, believe in yourself and swing.

How many times have you given up an opportunity just so you won’t have to deal with the blame in case something does not go well? Is it more important to you to try, fail, learn and try again, or to “play it safe”, wait for others to make the decisions and blame them when things don’t work out? This is a tough question to ask yourself, but it is important to know what type of person you are. Determining this will help you in understanding why you are or are not successful. Everyone can be successful in areas where they take control of not only their actions but in turn take control of the outcome. Taking control is scary but it is also rewarding. When you fail, you only have yourself to blame, but when you succeed you have only yourself to thank.

Below are a few questions that will help you understand what type of person you are by answering yes or no:

In times of conflict, I take responsibility for my actions before asking the other person to take responsibility for his/her actions.

Under pressure, I resist the urge to attack or blame others.

Under pressure, I casually consider the appropriate response. I do it react according to my impulses or feelings.

When I was the reason for a mistake happening, I admit fault and then work to resolve the issue.

When my professional / personal relationship with another person is weak, I ask how I have contributed to the situation before blaming the other person.

What insights can be gained by looking within yourself and accepting full responsibility for your actions and their consequences?

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