I am about to make a big claim! Prepare yourself…
Most arguments stem from the refusal to own (or take) responsibility for one’s own self, actions, words or deeds. And, this is even true regarding simple infractions.
Hard truth, right?
Examples of abdicating responsibility are all around if you are willing to “see” the truth. For example, choosing to justify, instead of sharing a simple, heart-felt apology; or, seething with sarcasm instead of saying, “You’re right, darling. I shouldn’t have said (done, forgotten, etc.) that.” And so on.
I can practically hear nodding in reluctant agreement. Perhaps saying, “But, Shawn, I really am right; or, I do have good excuses, reasons, and justifications; or s/he deserves my sarcasm.”
One word comes to mind:
Yep! Pride is a real kick in the teeth ladies and gentlemen. It keeps us from taking responsibility for our shit. And, it certainly keeps us from having the deeply connected, trusting, vulnerable and passionate relationships we so dearly long for.
Furthermore, abdicating responsibility for any reason is never worth the payoff.
I speak from experience: I used to be extremely prideful. I was amazing at arguing. I was good at justifying. Fantastic at shifting blame. And great at abdicating responsibility. Honestly, I just wanted everything to be everyone else’s fault...
Unfortunately, being prideful and abdicating responsibility is also very lonely…
Oddly, most of the time, people would rather be right, justified, prideful, blaming, critical or otherwise ‘salty’, than to choose to take responsibility.
Isn’t that shocking!
In essence, people would rather be right than be loved.
People would rather go to battle against one another (ahem, our partners, spouses, lovers, friends), than to be connected and share in a great, beautiful life adventure!
Bob-o-boy, how do we get so derailed? More importantly, how do we get back on track?
3 Ways To Own Your Sh**! Let’s Dig In!
1) Be willing to fess up!
Fessing up is not much fun (at first). No one relishes the idea of eating humble pie. I can say from experience, that when I first began to own my own shit, humble pie went down like a fist full of razor blades!
But I practiced, and the blades soon turned to needles, needles turned to paper clips and soon humble pie became a welcomed snack that brought peace, kindness, emotional safety and a whole lot of care to our marriage (and other relationships).
The magic of fessing up, is that it grows monumental amounts of trust, compassion, and care between the two people involved - spouse, kids or anyone else. This was not a benefit I was necessarily expecting- but it certainly spelled sweet victory.
Nowadays, even when I am fully confident that I am ‘right’ about something, I remind myself, “nothing is worth interrupting our love fest!” And, it is completely true. Honestly, what difference does it make who remembers, what perfectly or imperfectly? Today, I am all about being loved over being right - even when I have been negatively triggered and an arsenal of emotional weapons could be launched- it's just not worth it!
The bottom line? As hard as it may feel at first, practice FESSING UP, my friends. Practice until you have reached mastery. The pay off for taking responsibility and owning our shit is worth the short-term discomfort. Don’t take my word for it, test it out!
2) Let go of pride
Remember the saying, “pride goeth before a fall?” Well, it’s true in every facet of life. Relationships that are filled with pridefulness are either destined to fail, or destined to be wildly unhappy, lonely, and filled with discontent.
If you are, what I call a champion, a right-fighter, you might want to think about turning in your belt and finding a new hobby! I get that the payoff of being right can feel really good in the moment. And, I get that behaving as mother or father superior seems so juicy and delicious. But, again, in the end, it’s a lonely ride.
If you are winning, that means your partner (or kids) are losing. And WHY in the would would you want there to be an ongoing win/lose competition in your relationship? When couples come to me and I sense a hint of competitive vibes in the air, I tell them right away- “good thing you like competition, because you and your relationship are headed for the finish line.”
The reality check is that no one is really excited about the end of this particular race.
Couples don’t think this piece through:
Pride = competition.
Competition = 1 winner and 1 loser.
In regard to intimate relationships, it becomes obvious that this is not a useful or functional situation to be in. There is no payoff for winning because a win for the yourself becomes a loss for the relationship.
In marriages, families, even in businesses, either we all win or we all lose - their ain't no third direction.
Pridefulness and competition in relationships takes a high toll. These costs express as many manifestations within relationships. Here are a few examples:
Lack of sex
Disconnection and emotional disengagement
Anger, resentment, blame, sarcasm, nagging, criticism
Yelling, door slamming“
Accidentally” forgetting things your partner asked you to pick up at the grocery (or other passive aggressive acts
Chronic lateness by, usually, one partner
Eventual infidelity, separation or divorce
AND much more
The stakes are just too high.
I encourage you deeply and with all of my heart- let go of your pride- it is very much second place to a deeply loving and connected partnership.
3) Practice love and kindness.
How juicy is this as part of owning your own shiz?
Every day holds the possibility of exuding LOVE and KINDNESS! These are not qualities to be saved for special occasions and holidays. The more we practice operating from a place of love and kindness, the happier you will be.
And, who better to share love and kindness with than a partners (and families). Choosing to share unconditional love and kindness even when we don’t feel like it, even when we think our partner or kid or boss or employee is completely in the wrong, even when we would love to taste the sweet victory of being right and rubbing the other person’s nose in it-- choosing, especially in these moments, is beyond powerful.
It also requires practice! A lot of practice!
Practicing love and kindness takes time and practice. Because, first we have to catch ourselves in the middle of abdicating responsibility, then decide to take responsibility for our sh**, next we reel ourselves back in emotionally and often reverse out of the situation, eat some humble pie, breathe through and genuinely let go of all the negative emotions, justifications, and accusations we are attempting to quell… and then try, like hell, to move on.
Yep, this will take a lot of practice. So get comfortable being in the journey instead of being focused on the finish line. Remember, a truly great marriage or relationship of any kind is a gorgeous marathon, not a sprint. What you invest now will pay dividends for years to come within your life.
Cheer & Love!