Why is it so difficult for us to accept responsibility for our actions?
We all like to feel important and have others have a high opinion of us. Some more than others develop an over-inflated view of themselves. These tendencies act to wrap us in what many call "denial", which creates a false perception of self and the inability to accept the truth about us. It then becomes painful to accept that mistakes are possible and when we make them the first reaction is to point the finger at someone else. We refuse to think objectively and accept any involvement for our actions. Taking responsibility can be a very painful thing to do.
The inability to accept responsibility for our actions and behaviors is a result of insecurity. By taking responsibility one feels they are admitting to being weak, powerless, or an opportunity to lose the respect of others. It may cause one to feel they will lose their sense of value and importance.
On the contrary, taking responsibility earns you respect. We can't be perfect all the time, we all make mistakes. When we accept responsibility we are accepting the blame for our actions and also accepting the responsibility for making improvements in our lives. Accepting responsibility is a measure of one's self-worth, their level of security, and the true sign of strength and courage. Having this ability can empower you to grow in ways that would bring you great rewards and accomplishments in your life.
Who would you have greater respect for, a person who takes responsibility for his/her actions, owns up to it and promises to do better in the future, or someone who perpetually denies any involvement in situations when it's obvious they may be responsible? Accepting responsibility is a sign of personal growth and maturity. It is definitely not a sign of weakness.
The Consequences for NOT Taking Responsibility
When you fail to accept personal responsibility for your actions there are a series of events that follow over time. The consequences do not necessarily promote goal achievement and success in life. The signals you send to the subconscious can come back to sabotage your progress.
One of the negative consequences that follow is an exaggerated sense of self that makes it difficult to get along with others. You then run the risk of becoming involved in conflicting situations and becoming more critical of others. Because your perception of your importance is exaggerated, your expectation of others is unrealistic and you become impatient, intolerant, and demanding. With this attitude, you act as a repellent to others, finding it difficult to gain their cooperation. Your relationships can suffer and before long very few people would want to be around you.
When taking responsibility for your actions is difficult to accept, you experience frequent feelings of insecurity. These insecurities can trigger doubt about your own abilities, which undermines your self-confidence. In this state of mind you have a high need to be right at all times to compensate for what you feel you are lacking. You defend your every action, right or wrong. It compounds the already existing problem of being unable to accept personal responsibility and reinforces this behavior even more.
Once this habit of refusing to accept personal responsibility is maintained, your character can become slowly transformed. You may tend to become someone who is irresponsible, a quitter, reliant on others, disturbed, unhappy, hopeless, angry, irrational, and defiant or even depressed. These qualities are not success enhancers. They can eat away at your ability to achieve your best.
Examine your life today. Are you able to accept responsibility for your actions?
Reasons why Taking Responsibility is so Difficult
There are many people who develop this tendency to be unable to accept personal responsibility for their actions. Let's look in more detail some of the causes of one's inability to adopt this characteristic.
1. Feelings of Insecurity - There are some folks who may have been raised in a very chaotic environment where they were constantly put down, yelled at, or emotionally abused. There are some who grew up in an underprivileged environment and grew up with feelings of inferiority or were raised by parents who carried feelings of inferiority. Someone who didn't receive much attention, positive reinforcement, or recognition growing up, always feeling overlooked. These conditions can cause a lack of confidence in their own abilities along with feelings of low self-esteem.
2. Arrogance- People develop arrogance for several reasons. It could have been inherited - some folks know very little about humility. Others are so over confident that they become completely self-centered and see themselves as flawless and incapable of making mistakes. There are those who are so insecure that their arrogance is a way of compensating for their insecurities. They feel they must act superior to others.
3. Prejudices- Some people who feel victims of racial discrimination, intolerance, or narrow-mindedness, are always on guard or on edge. They feel unable to get the recognition they deserve and feel that others stand in their way of progress. This triggers feelings of insecurities that result from the inability to accept responsibility for their actions.
What I have identified are only some of the underlying reasons why some of us cannot accept responsibility for our actions. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, this doesn't make you a bad person. You should be congratulated for recognizing these characteristics in you. Now that you are aware the next step is to making a change in your life.
How to Take Responsibility for your actions
Stop and think back to the last time you accepted responsibility for something. Does it seem as if you have a difficult time doing it? By accepting that you do have a problem in this area and learning ways of taking responsibility for your actions, you are taking your life to a higher level of existence. You will find yourself feeling more vibrant and happier. So how can you learn to take responsibility for your actions?
Realize that you cannot place the blame on others for the choices you make. Be fair in your dealings.
Understanding that it's ok to make mistakes. No one will think less of you. On the contrary you will earn the respect of others for admitting your errors.
"If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams." -Les Brown