Accepting your part in the problem is difficult, but it’s the only way to release the past, get out of unhealthy patterns, learn, change, and develop the ability to move forward.
It’s much easier to say that everything is someone else’s fault, and every negative outcome can be explained away with reasons. It’s much easier to be a victim than to take responsibility.
However, the foundational principle of a happy life is that you are totally responsible for your life experience.
Here are 4 tips for taking personal responsibility.
#1. Examine the benefits.
If there’s something you need to change yet you are not changing it, it’s because you benefit from the situation in some way.
You can come up with all the excuses you want, but “I can’t” really means “I won’t.” So what’s the reason you won’t?
For example, “I can’t finish the report because my coworker hasn’t gotten the data to me.” (blame). The benefit could be that you look good in your boss’s eyes and your coworker looks like a lazy slob. Guess who will get the promotion?
It’s awkward and humbling to think deeply about your reasons… but once you know the benefits of not changing the situation, look for ways to achieve those same benefits in a supportive way.
#2. No excuses, no blame.
When you catch yourself making an excuse or blaming someone, gently remind yourself to silence that negative, unhelpful voice that wants to make sure everybody knows it’s not your fault. You will be shocked at how much easier it is to take responsibility immediately (and how forgiving people generally are) than to make excuses and wait for the mistake to catch up later, usually at the most inconvenient time and as a much bigger problem.
#3. Welcome feedback.
You may not love what someone has to say, but control your defensive urges. Put your hackles down and learn by deepening your understanding of the other person’s perspective.
#4. Details matter.
Does one episode of blaming someone for your failure make a difference? Yes. Every choice, thought, and action has a consequence.
Your habitual thoughts and choices dictate the direction of your life – that’s obvious – but what’s less obvious is that excuses are easy, and taking the easy way out can quickly become habitual.
It pays to observe the 4-7 most common themes running on a mental loop in your head, to determine your level of personal responsibility and give yourself an opportunity to tell a better story (no excuses, no blame).
These methods help you reframe a habit of not taking personal responsibility. It’s incredibly empowering to own your mistakes, and one of the most potent tools for positive change.