The 4-Steps to Accepting Responsibility (without blaming)
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was in a car accident. She’s totally fine, don’t worry!
The car, however, wasn’t.
So, she called her husband to leave work and come fetch her from the side of the road.
When I said to her… “Why didn’t you call me? I was closer!”
THIS was her response…
I honestly wasn’t thinking straight and was tryna find ways to blame [insert husband’s name here].
The thing that makes this so funny is her husband WASN’T EVEN WITH HER!
He had nothing at all to do with the accident. He was at work, doing his thing, minding his business.
You can’t make it up.
Now, she was obviously playing (sort of) but it got me thinking…
We blame others a LOT for things not going the way we want them to.
It’s just true. I do it. You do it. My friend clearly does it.
We blame other people, our past trauma, the weather, our jobs, our boss, the “idiot” down the street who drives too fast, the contractor who built your house, and even the dog. 🤯
What we might not realize is this…
When we blame others for our own shortcomings, mistakes, and mishaps, we give up control, we feel helpless, we encounter more stress and anxiety, and our relationships suffer.
What I know for sure, is this… (cue Oprah’s voice) there is no greater obstacle to creating the life you dream of than blaming others.
So the question is… Whyyyyyy is it so hard to stop blaming others and just take responsibility for our own lives?
Welll… lots of reasons like…
- It’s just easier to find a scapegoat
- It’s fun acting like we’re perfect
- We don’t want to feel shame
- We don’t look stupid or inadequate
- It’s natural to be defensive (more on this in a minute)
- It’s hard to admit we’re not amazing 100% of the time
- It means we have to do something to fix what we’ve broken (ugh)
- We’re wired for it (again, more on this in a minute)
There are others but this should do the trick for now.
Which ones resonate with you?
I’ll go first… I feel ALL of them at different times.
Does that make me a bad person? Nope.
It doesn’t make you one either.
It makes us human.
We are all naturally wired to blame other people or circumstances when things go sideways.
This is partially psychological, driven by something called the “fundamental attribution bias”. 🧠
Essentially, when something negative happens, it’s processed in the brain by the amygdala (which looks like 2 small almonds WHICH is actually where it gets its name from. But… I digress).
What you should know about the amygdala is that it controls our fight, flight, or freeze response.
Now, the amygdala lovessss to jump to conclusions. Kinda like my Aunt Mary.
And it does it FAST! ⚡
EXACTLY like my Aunt Mary.
In fact, it does it so fast that we don’t even notice we’re making an assumption!
We just know that someone else or something else did this and they probably did it on purpose.
Now, after hearing that it might feel like we’re all a little psycho out here in these streets.
But rest assured that this is just how the brain protects you. And, It’s very normal.
So how do you stop blaming (when your brain wants to do the opposite) and accept responsibility (even when it doesn’t feel good) all in an effort to become SELF Made?
Keep reading, dear friend and I’ll tell all!
The first step to breaking free of the pattern of blaming others is start becoming aware of when you do it.
Just notice what you notice. 👀
The trouble is, most of us go through life NOT noticing things. We tune out things around us.
Instead, start paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and reactions when shit hits the fan.
Notice when you find yourself immediately pointing fingers (thanks amygdala/Aunt Mary) or making others responsible for the situation.
But don’t judge yourSELF.
This isn’t about tearing yourSELF down and feeling shame. (Seriously, no one needs more of that.)
It’s simply about getting to know yourSELF better so you can make some changes!
So be gentle.
A simple exercise that I use with my coaching clients to develop self-awareness is this…
- Set a reminder on your phone for 2 – 3 times a day to stop and check in with yourSELF.
- Notice how you’re feeling. Notice your emotions and the stories you’re telling to feel them.
- Are you seeing things as they actually are or as YOU actually are?
- You don’t even have to take action (yet). Just notice what you notice.
As you become more aware of what you’re feeling in general, it will help you become more aware of when you’re shifting blame.
And once you become more aware, then we can move on to accepting responsibility instead of blaming others. 👏
(And THAT is coming up next!)
You might call BS on this butttt…. accepting responsibility for everything that happens in your life is a form of SELF care.
I know! But give me 60 seconds and I’ll make you a believer!
You see, when you take responsibility for your own life, you’re taking care of your mental and emotional health.
You’re preventing yourself from feeling like a victim, and you’re giving yourself the power to make your life better instead of just wallowing in self-pity.
So, what does it REALLY mean to accept responsibility?
It means owning your choices, your actions, and your reactions. (I know, I don’t like it either but it’s an all or nothing game we’re playing here.)
It means not blaming other people for your problems.
It means taking steps to improve your situation.
When you take personal responsibility, you’re taking control of your life. You’re deciding what YOU want, how YOU want to feel, and who YOU want to be. Then, you can take the steps to make it happen. ✨
See how that works?
This is so incredibly empowering, and it leaves you feeling more confident and in control (which is really what we want anyway).
Here’s a 4-step process for accepting responsibility and finally feeling in control of your own life:
- Identify the areas of your life where you’re not taking responsibility. What are you blaming others for (even the small things)? What are you avoiding?
- Take a step back and look at your situation objectively. What are the facts? And what are the stories you’re making up (aka fiction)?
- Make a decision to take responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you have to solve all your problems overnight. It just means that you’re committed to taking steps to improve your situation.
- Take action. This could mean setting goals, making changes, or simply taking some small steps in the right direction.
Look, taking personal responsibility is not always easy, but it’s worth it.
When you take control of your life, you’re taking care of yourSELF. 🥳
You’re creating a life that you don’t want to escape from. And if that’s not SELF care, then I don’t know what is.
SELF MADE SUCCESS
I have this ethos that I follow in my life and business, no matter what.
Everything is my fault.
I know. It might sound a bit strange at first, but trust me, it has been one of the secrets to my success. 🤫
For example, no matter what happens with my business, even if it’s a team member that messes something up, I immediately ask mySELF… “How is this my fault?”
Maybe I didn’t train the person like I should have.
Perhaps I should have caught the mistake before it went out.
Maybe I’ve asked this person to do something that was outside their skillset.
Whatever the answer is, it gives me an opportunity to be a better leader, coach, and team member.
It puts me back in control and shows me that I have the power to change things. To influence outcomes.
Now, does it also feel a little disheartening and lousy at times?
Meh… a little bit. But that’s ok.
Listen, friend… It’s OK to feel strong emotions.
We are not delicate little flowers because we have been through some shit, you and I. We were born to do hard things so it’s ok to feel things that don’t always feel good.
Because then, as I said, you are back in control and you can change things.
And THAT feels great!
When you see setbacks or failures as your own responsibility, they become opportunities to learn and grow.
You start viewing them as valuable lessons that help you become better. More resilient.
Plus, people will trust and respect you more.
When you take responsibility, it shows integrity. Others appreciate that you’re not blaming them but rather that you’re focused on fixing things.
This trust and respect can open doors for collaborations, leadership roles, and advancement in your career.
This is how you become SELF Made. 🍾
You learn, grow, and become better at life.
And that makes you unstoppable!