“Whether good or bad, accept responsibility for your actions and decisions.”
Today was a particularly rough day. With too much to do and not much time to do it in, I had to make a choices on priority. Often we are faced with decisions that we have to make, and sometimes we will make mistakes. Today, I made a tiny error in judgement. Something that I thought that would take a short time ended up taking much longer. I ended up spending more time than I should have on it and as a result ended up missing out on some time to relax.
Life will throw us many challenges requiring us to make many decisions, or take any number of actions. Often, when we realize we’ve made the wrong decision, we are tempted to shift the blame to others. We are always a “product of circumstance” whereas others demonstrate “character flaws”. It’s call attribution theory…we attribute negative qualities to a person other than ourselves when something goes wrong, and attribute circumstance to our own misfortunes.
I was guilty of this today. Overwhelmed, and realizing I’d made the wrong decision in priority resulting in an hour of lost time, I started playing the “what if” game, and shifting the blame to others. If only others had helped out a bit more, I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed. If only others had done their fair share, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
But then a thought hit me: I had made my decision based on the facts available to me at the time. Sure, I was frustrated that I had lost an hour of time, but there was no use shifting the blame to others. I had made the decision (maybe the wrong one), and now I had to deal with the consequences.
There was something very liberating about simply accepting my decision made, and taking full responsibility for it. My mind felt much clearer when I could say to myself: “I made a decision and I stand by my decision and accept full responsibility for it. Consequences? Bring em on!” From there, it was all down hill. The thoughts that were cluttering my thinking (who is to blame, what if I’d done things differently) were pushed out and I was left focused only on the task that needed doing. And I got it done.
In the end, I did lose an hour of time and had to compensate for it elsewhere…but it wasn’t stressful. I accepted responsibility for my decision and put myself in control of dealing with it rather than burden myself with a thousand “what ifs”.
So the next time you find your mind cluttering with thoughts and “what-ifs” after you’ve made a decision that didn’t quite work out, don’t get frustrated, don’t over think it, don’t blame others…take action, take charge, take control. While it can be a comfortable thought that we aren’t responsible for our actions, it’s even more empowering to accept responsibility and acknowledge that WE ARE IN CONTROL.
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