No one likes to be told they’re wrong. It’s a human thing. But sometimes just because you may technically be in the right doesn’t mean you are without responsibility.
Responsibility is a weird thing. Everyone wants to think they are capable of it while holding others to carrying it out. It is one of the hardest things to self evaluate and even harder to try and cultivate when it needs pruning. Even the most moral and astute person will have problems with maintaining and discerning responsible choices. This does not make you a bad person. This just means you have a weak spot in your foundation that needs a little mending. Calling someone out on their irresponsibility is one of the best ways to get a knee jerk defense but it is necessary beyond a shadow of a doubt.
AGAIN: Just because you were irresponsible in a situation doesn’t mean that you are morally wrong or to blame for that situation. This isn’t about pointing fingers. This is about taking control of your life and what happens to you.
Here are a few examples from my life that hopefully you can relate to:
1) I had a string of just crappy boyfriends/dates. They were horrible. They were abusive in some form and to varying degrees. They were on the surface very different: some had college experience, other’s didn’t, varying home lives, even varying ages. Now any abuse I suffered in these relationships were not my fault. I didn’t deserve that treatment. I was a faithful and devoted girlfriend. I didn’t deserve to be harmed, cheated on, mistreated, or taken advantage of. But somehow, these things kept happening to me. So I had to take responsibility not for the abuse, that was on the abusers, but for my responsibility to pick better partners and to evaluate is there anything I’m doing that is accidentally encouraging these kinda guys to approach me. And here is what I figured out:
My shitty self esteem was like a giant target around my neck. I was so wrapped up in my own issues that the quality people who were trying to get to know me couldn’t. They either saw how damaged I was and realized I was in no state for a relationship and left me alone. Or they didn’t want to deal with the baggage I wasn’t ready to let go of. Either way I was scaring off good people who respected me enough not to start something with me.
This left the vultures. The smooth talkers. The losers. The charismatic vampires who know just what to say and how to front long enough to make someone feel special. Every guy at least to some degree offered to help me with something. They actually kept the front half of their promises. Some took me out and made me feel pretty. They remembered my birthday and kept up with my studies. Then things changed sometimes, sometimes slowly sometimes not. Hindsight gives off all these wonderful red flags doesn’t it? (I will go into those in another post, don’t worry.)
So it was not my fault I was hurt. But I did have to take responsibility for the fact I was putting myself in the situation for these people to take advantage of me and I fell for it. My responsibility here I failed on was to value myself and work on healing myself. I was trying to find help for my problems in unhealthy sources instead of other options. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was trying to let someone else take care of me.
The only time that is is safe for someone to take care of you when you’re incapable is only after they have proven themselves to be a true friend. Having someone offer immediately, even if they are a good person, isn’t healthy for you. It really is true you have to love yourself before others can love you.
2) I was in a job…a horrible job…well. It wouldn’t have been horrible if I wasn’t treated very well. I wasn’t the best judge at this point over who was my friend and who wasn’t. I had a coworker who I thought was a friend spread horrible rumors about me loosely based on some truths I had told them in confidence. There was a professional inquiry at work over the matter. I had a chance to throw everyone who screwed me under the bus and I didn’t. I said only that I had told that coworker something in confidence and they betrayed me. I ended up having to transfer out of that place because the hostility of that environment got so bad. One boss called me a snitch, the other just let it go and I was written up for causing “disruptive work conditions”.
My responsibility in this: follow through with chain of command. Don’t let people use a policy to hurt you. I could have gone above my boss’s head and I didn’t. Also while some may think me not baring all was honorable because I held integrity, I was defending people who obviously didn’t care how bad I was hurt. That “friend” wasn’t written up. They were a hero. I was the problem. If you know you are in the right then follow through and feel free to crucify anyone who wasn’t. They won’t hesitate to leave you to rot.
I have a motto: Make sure it’s not your fault. Do everything in your power to make sure you are giving yourself the best leg forward on accomplishing your goals. This is how I hold myself responsible. I can’t control other people. I can’t control if I don’t get that job I deserve or another turn of fate that I have earned. It takes exhausting all of your options, double checking yourself, and constantly seeing what you can do better. I promise, even if you’re not getting where you want to be, you’ll be closer to who you want to be.