We hear it all the time. The blame-shift to entities outside of ourselves for our pain. For the consequences. But isn’t that just saying that we don’t have any power over ourselves? I’m pretty sure most of us shudder at the thought that we hand over our well-being to others and to circumstances, but maybe we are doing just that. This month on the podcast we are going to explore this concept, and how taking healthy control of our approach to life means starting with our thinking.
Do you own your thoughts? Really? Or is your thinking the product of what others have told you or what others believe maybe? We can underestimate how much influence we can absorb from those around us, and from other sources of information. How much do you investigate what you are being told, to see how true it might be and why? Look back over the years and try to discern how your life may have turned out differently if you had thought differently.
What about how you feel? Owning our feelings means we recognize how we’re feeling, we validate those feelings within ourselves, and we express them vulnerably using I statements to others. Not owning our feelings means we act them out on others by “leaking them out sideways” as it’s called. This doesn’t make it feel very emotionally safe to be around us and it violates other’s boundaries and it puts our stuff on other people. Then, after dishonestly – at least emotionally – slipping it out there we don’t even feel better. That’s because I believe unless and until we share vulnerably we cannot feel validated or resolve what is going on. You can’t heal what you can’t feel.
What you do. This is a large container of all of your behaviors. Are you intentional about how you act, how you approach things? Do you own that it’s on you if you procrastinate or rush through something, or is there always a great excuse? Owning our behavior is a hallmark of emotional maturity, and is foundational for great relationships, not to mention doing well at work. People will either experience us a responsible, mature and reliable or ____________ well, I’ll let you fill in those blanks. When you begin truly owning how you want to respond to the list of things to be done, to the annoying requests from others or things you have fear around, you will benefit the most actually, because you will feel more grounded and in-charge, because you are.
We forget that even though it brings temporary relief to blame others/circumstances for how we think, feel and do, it also causes damage to our self-esteem, and our relationships. I think these two are foundational to well-being and success. What we also want to remember is when we don’t own ourselves it’s usually because the go-to reactive stances are fear based and ingrained. They are reactive rather than proactive, because to be proactive means to consciously choose, and that means we have to risk the possibility of choosing wrong.
Taking ownership is a slow, thoughtful process that gets easier over time. The more you own, the better you begin to feel, as well as reap the rewards of a healthier relationship with your life.