Overcoming Barriers to Responsibility
Several months ago, stand-up comedian Louis CK hosted Saturday Night Live. In his opening monologue, one joke in particular stood out to me.
“I was talking to my friend and he said his girlfriend was mad at him. I asked him what happened and he goes, ‘Well I guess I said something and she got her feelings hurt.’ Such a weird way to phrase it, ‘SHE got HER feelings hurt. I said something and SHE got HER feelings hurt.’ Could you remove yourself more from responsibility? It’s like saying, ‘Yeah I shot this guy in the face and I guess he got himself murdered.’”
Accepting responsibility enables us to grow as individuals and develop strong relationships. Each time we take responsibility for our actions, we are less likely to live out the famous Proverb, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” We need to identify the barriers with brutal honesty first if we are to move forward and break free from reoccurring dysfunction. Are you dealing with any of these 5 potential barriers to accepting responsibility?
Elevating myself to a level of superiority and thinking I’m above being wrong or causing hurt actually comes from a weak sense of self. In my mind, I have not received the credit I am due so I will bestow it to myself. Accepting responsibility will be a challenge for me because I believe everyone owes me.
The Blame Game.
It’s never my fault. My eyes are constantly on the lookout for the errors of others. I’m good at it, able to spot ways people have wronged me with an eagle eye. Somehow, when it comes to my own part, I am blind or view myself as holy and innocent. I believe a lie that is not only a barrier to responsibility, but ultimately intimacy too.
Playing the Victim.
The world is attacking me. I’m not only focused on the negative qualities of others, but believe people are out to get me. Admitting any kind of wrong would be like opening the gate with the barbarians waiting to charge. I need to defend at all costs.
I am afraid that admitting guilt will cause people to think less of me. It is a blemish on my record and I fear it will define me. It can be paralyzing. I personally struggle with this one.
When I admit wrong, I court shame. It is painful, difficult, and uncomfortable. Living in denial is just easier—in the short run. In the long run, the cost is great. I personally struggle with this one too.
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Sound off: Why is accepting responsibility so hard?