It can be a difficult question—particularly when you realize what answer makes sense, the majority of the time.
The solution to the question may be different, than the one I’m about to put out there. Where that’s true, I wanted to speak specifically to the main one, I think needs to be understood.
When we’re younger (and sometimes not so young), we have a tendency to try and answer this conundrum in a way that’s both not really the case, and frankly, to our detriment.
You see, most of the time, the simple statement made should be, “I’m responsible.”
Yes, it’s true there are situations where placing the burden on oneself, may potentially be at least partially incorrect.
That said, most of the time, it’s a simple query, with an equally simple response.
Even in situations where somebody else did something, that resulted in some sort of less than desirable outcome, had we taken action to stop them doing so, what happened might’ve been completely different.
Sometimes it’s true, we may not have been been involved in the process. At other times, we may not’ve understood what was occurring, or been in a position to stop not-so-great things from happening. In those cases, unless we chose to not act appropriately, I think it’s fair to say whatever occurred was not “on us.”
In just about every other scenario though, it’s pretty reasonable to say we bear the burden, for at least a part of what happened.
I don’t say this in order to either beat myself up, or to get people to do likewise. The point of statement, is to seek future improvement, by bringing to light something we may not be accounting correctly.
In personal relationships for example, I’ve done a horribly bad job. Whether it was in deciding with whom I would be in such a coming together, or dealing badly with one or more (usually more than one) thing that happened while in that union, or other situation.
In the end, there’s certainly nobody more to be blamed, for the unfortunate outcomes, than plain old me.
Am I saying the other person involved has no responsibility in the various catastrophes, pitfalls, good, or great times we went through together? Not at all.
Rather, my intent is to point out two things.
If I don’t take responsibility for what I’ve done—how I’ve erred, or done well—I’m abdicating both that responsibility, and equally importantly, my authority, in those times when I obviously had both.
The other point of importance is, blaming whatever other parties were involved, rarely results in any benefit at all for anyone. About the best I can hope for, is keeping it in my mind, that the person in question might not be trustworthy.
Of course, all of this applies equally to business transactions and activities, as it does to private interpersonal relationships.
It’s incumbent on each person involved in public interactions, to do their best to ensure a favorable outcome for both themselves, and others.
It may be, none of this comes off at all surprising to you.
If you’re like me though, it’s a hard lesson to first internalize, then to maintain as recognized.
I have a terribly bad habit of blaming others, when I either did wrong myself in some fashion, or maybe more importantly, knew they were probably going to do badly, and failing to prepare for that eventuality.
Trust me, if nobody else gets it, I do. It can be hard to recognize that blame or fault lies in one’s own back yard.
You should also be totally aware, this is still something with which I cross swords on a daily and ongoing basis—and it’s not a battle I expect to win completely, any time in the near future.
That said, I’ve begun to build a pattern. It involves asking simple questions like, “How could I have made things better, or done more correctly?”
Sometimes I forget to even ask, much less answer questions of that sort. As I go along, I hope to get better and better, at doing so.
The funny thing is, blaming others is such an easy, and basic response, that I do it in the simplest of times, without taking a moment to look in the mirror, before doing so.
I’ll be driving down the road, and a car will basically stop in front of me to turn right. This is an absolute recipe, for me to blame the person at the wheel of that vehicle, for acting badly.
Should I do so though?
In reality, the common answer is, “No.”
How many times has such a thing happened before? It would be an amazing thing, for any driver with more than ten years of experience, to not be able to count a hundred or more such times.
If I knew the possibility might exist, regardless why it happens, is it not my responsibility to prepare for that eventuality?
Considering that’s true for a thing that seems so badly out of my control, how much more should it be the case, for things I should be even more likely to encounter?
If I flatly refuse to accept the possibility such things may come to pass, sooner or later, there will be potentially serious problems to face.
It’s for this reason I’ve been working to “fix” this issue within myself.
I’ve been lucky (you may be inclined to say blessed, instead), my ability to react quicky has been good enough most of the time, and the results so minimal, as to not have caused any serious harm, to myself or others.
It takes just one time for life to throw just the right curve ball, and for someone to be seriously badly affected, as a result.
Considering my luck, or how blessed I’ve been to this point, statistics are working heavily against me. Even if they weren’t though, it’s definitely time for me to shoulder what burden I can, and work to keep things, from going awry.
Remember this. Others may well affect various situations in which you find yourself. In general though you’re responsible for the outcome. Failing to look at things in this way, may result in dire consequences.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.