As a coach, each client I work with at some point is going to have to take responsibility for their contribution to every situation, good or bad. We see TV shows where coaches and counselors talk about taking ownership of what we have done in our past which may cause detriment to where we are today. I think it’s important to note, especially when dealing with relationships, ownership is more than saying “I did this wrong, and I’m sorry.” I think especially for men, we need to have a clarification of what being truly responsible looks like in the process of designing what our lives look like going forward.
Confession is the part of the process where you announce what you did wrong. If you watch shows like Iyanla’s Fix My Life or any of the shows Dr. Drew is a part of, you will see they often are trying to help their clients verbalize what they have done wrong. This is an important component of the process to heal and move forward. Often, we don’t take responsibility for what we have done wrong, because we don’t know exactly what is it we have done.
We know there is something amiss, but until you say it out loud and hear yourself speak your transgression, you could still be holding on to excuses and are unwilling to accept responsibility. Confession is good for both parties in a relationship where healing needs to happen and it’s a must if you want to take complete responsibility for your actions.
“Owning it” is the buzz word you will hear from helping professionals when they are trying to get you to take responsibility. It’s important to know what ownership really is. Ownership is speaking the truth/confession, accepting TOTAL responsibility for your actions, and working on your character and personality to not allow you to go back to the behavior which allowed you to get to this point in the first place. People often say “don’t judge me,” but the reality is to own something you must start with judging yourself. For the record, ownership is complete, unbridled judgment of yourself and your actions.
If you can’t take stock in what you have done, you can’t move forward because history is destined to repeat itself.
When you’re owning your situation, you don’t worry about who is judging you or what anyone thinks of you any longer. You are now your biggest critic and you hold yourself accountable for your actions. It’s also good to have an accountability partner to help you hold yourself accountable. Ownership is purely considering how your actions affect you and others before you make a choice, and then acting accordingly.
Responsibility for an issue is not complete without being a part of the change. Admitting your contribution and bearing the burden is only a part of the resolve. There is no correction without conscious change. In marriages (and relationships heading toward marriage), we must have the desire to do things differently when we discover our mistakes. I have heard many people say they don’t understand how to change. Change is the requirement of one’s self to make better choices in a given set of circumstances.
Whatever you feel it takes to facilitate change, do that. If it takes counseling, coaching, an accountability partner, or leaving a situation, whatever the case is, do what is necessary to facilitate change. One example of change is, if you have stepped outside of your relationship, but you and your spouse have decided to work on it. You can’t continue to have a relationship on ANY level with the person you were cheating with. This means you can’t see them, call them, speak to them, text them or work with them. Owning the affair is fine, but you totally accept responsibility when you act in a way to make a change which helps facilitate the rebuilding of trust with the spouse you betrayed.
BMWK is a site with many coaches and counselors who contribute that can assist with learning to take responsibility and building healthy relationships going forward. I suggest get the help of a professional when necessary. That said, I realize that if working with a professional is not possible in your situation, consider these three important factors when taking responsibility and designing your life from this point forward.
BMWK: Do you own up to the things you have done? How has it changed your situation?