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Taking Responsibility for Your Own Actions

 
 
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:55 pm
I have come to believe that there are very few situations in life where people are interacting with others that they do not have any personal responsibility for whatever the outcome of that situation.

If I hadn't said that, he wouldn't have done this. If he hadn't done that I wouldn't have said this. While it seems perfectly reasonable and even logical (at least at the time) to do certain things, are they reasonable? Are they logical? When I look back over a situation and I am looking at it honestly I can see where my behavior was in error. But, at the time, it may have seemed perfectly fine. It seems that while the behavior is taking place there is more of a one-way view and once I look back in reflection, there are plenty of views.

Does this happen to everyone? Do you know why? Does anyone have any tips on how to recognize these other views in the first place?
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:58 pm
One should think about the outcome before they speak or write.
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:59 pm
Here's something a friend used to tell me all the time. I think it might be relevant.

"You can't MAKE me do anything."

Here's another thing that another friend once said.

"You can't change anyone's behavior but your own."

You are not responsible at all for the actions others take in response to what you do or say.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:00 pm
Hi Husker,

I heartily agree with you. But, we all know there are times that we are in the middle of a temper tantrum, argument, etc., that we say or do something that seems to just come out of nowhere. Sometimes those things feel and seem perfectly justifiable. But, I don't believe they always are. Do you agree?
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:02 pm
Hi kickycan,

I agree with you also. No one can make anyone do anything, true. But, do you feel that because of our own behavior sometimes it can, at the very least, affect someone else in a way enough to make them act in a way they don't want to? Or do you feel that no matter what someone says or does to you (not literally) they have no responsibility for how you might react?

Are there any situations where this may differ?
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flushd
 
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Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 11:44 pm
Yup. We are each 100% responsible for our actions ALL THE TIME.

I totally know where you are coming from though, Ma. I have a tendency to get angry and rude. It has gotten me in a lot of trouble. I still have to watch out for it constantly; I taught myself that my anger is justifiable when things don't go my way.....

But the truth is I am the one who decides to get angry. It used to be: someone gets in my face, I'd feel perfectly ok to lash out. In fact, I was waiting for the opportunity to let those feelings fly! Now, I saw that doing so leads to a crappy outcome to me and what I want to accomplish and BE; so I get angry less and less. It's on my back and that feels good.

I think you can only change things to the degree that you understand this basic truth. I'm still learning, but life gets a lot better as I accept this. I guess it's growing up. Laughing
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:00 am
flushd,

Thanx for answering. Growing up. Yes. I don't think we ever stop doing that, do we? Or do we?

I don't like it when I get to the point that I am angry and I know I need to stop being angry and lashing out and yet I go just a bit farther, which is usually too far. I guess that is when my guilt really kicks in. I am at the point of knowing I am doing wrong and am still doing it. I am getting better at putting a stop to it than I used to be but this is something I really want to master.

I know I can never be perfect and I am not sure I'd want to be. But, one thing I do believe in is taking responsibility for myself. I have gotten to the point of accepting the responsibility with no problem. It would just be a lot easier if I didn't do it in the first place. Laughing
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:02 am
Re: Taking Responsibility for Your Own Actions
Momma Angel wrote:
I have come to believe that there are very few situations in life where people are interacting with others that they do not have any personal responsibility for whatever the outcome of that situation.

If I hadn't said that, he wouldn't have done this. If he hadn't done that I wouldn't have said this. While it seems perfectly reasonable and even logical (at least at the time) to do certain things, are they reasonable? Are they logical? When I look back over a situation and I am looking at it honestly I can see where my behavior was in error. But, at the time, it may have seemed perfectly fine. It seems that while the behavior is taking place there is more of a one-way view and once I look back in reflection, there are plenty of views.

Does this happen to everyone? Do you know why? Does anyone have any tips on how to recognize these other views in the first place?



Some women (and some men, for that matter) are in abusive relationships. They might know from past experience that if they're late getting home from work, then there will be heck to pay. But, an abused person is not personally responsible when she (or he) is the victim of abuse. It serves little purpose for an abused person to take the blame: "If only I had gotten home on time (or whatever), he wouldn't have hit me."

But, in a non-abusive relationship--where both parties truly love each other and care about each other's welfare and happiness--communicating in a manner that is hurtful or doing things in a manner that is hurtful to the one you love should never be acceptable. When both partners accept personal responsibility for controlling impulsiveness and utilizing effective communication skills, this goes a long way towards making a relationship that might otherwise be a mediocre relationship into a great one.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:04 am
Excellent point, Debra_Law. Thank you very much.
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:54 am
Blame it on the dog, works like a charm Smile
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:54 am
I only have cats.
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 12:58 am
Oh, dear that's the problem right there alright, cats won't take responsibility for anything.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 01:00 am
Well, I hate to admit it, Chumly, but you are so right. I will hear a crash in the kitchen and go running in and say, "What in the world is going on in here?!" And there are all these innocent eyes just staring up at me like..................uh............nothing...............why? Rolling Eyes
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echi
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 02:14 am
This may be slightly off-topic, maybe not...

I believe that any time there is a problem or conflict between two people it is always 50/50. Neither is more or less at fault. We all do our best (and worst) all the time, in every situation. When we judge other people we assume that we know the reasons for their actions. This is NOT to say that I believe people should not be held accountable for what they do. Rather, I think we are all 100% responsible for our own actions. My point is just that in order to resolve any kind of dispute, both (or all) sides must be given equal consideration. Everyone's concerns are valid.

(I hope that makes a little sense. I kinda' need to go to sleep now.) Neutral
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 02:17 am
echi,

That is the very thought that sparked this thread! I had said something like that to sozobe and she said we'd get into it later. I like how you said that. It's 50/50 but we are 100% responsible for ourselves. Yep. Yep. That's it!

Have a good night.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 06:44 am
Often, in life, there is not much that one can do about the actions of other people. The only thing that a person can do is change the way that he reacts to certain persons.

My husband has the habit of sometimes couching criticisms in a way that blames me. Earlier on in my marriage, I would become defensive, (No, I did NOT do that!), and become very angry.

. At this point in time, he is not going to change, but I have. When he says something like, "Look what you did.......................",
I will reply, "I certainly did", or "You are absolutely right". That stops the argument, before it starts.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 08:43 am
Good point, Phoenix. I call that exploding the bomb myself before someone else makes it go off.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 08:55 am
I said that I wasn't sure if you were in the mood to debate it right then...!

I guess it comes down to semantics again. In I don't think that everyone actually has 50%/50% responsibility, and I think it can be dangerous to assume that.

Say that at a cafe, Ellen is talking to her friend about a television show. A guy sitting behind her overhears her and starts yelling and swearing at her. She tries to ignore him but he continues, getting increasingly personal and vicious. She firmly tells him to stop but that just whets his appetite further.

Is she actually 50% responsible? I'm not saying she has no responsibility -- by choosing to speak in public she knew someone might overhear her, for example. But 50%?

However, if you are speaking in a more general way, that everyone can assume that they have some responsibility from the standpoint of trying to heal the rift, I'd mostly agree with that. I just don't think that all rifts need to be healed -- I don't think Ellen needs to heal things with her cafe opponent, I think he was just plain wrong.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 09:00 am
I don't remember how old I was when I learned what kicky said earlier -- the only behavior you can change is your own. Many times I have been in situations where I would have felt justified escalating because "I was right", but then thought about whether it mattered at all whether I was right or wrong if the outcome was not desirable.

Debra makes a good point about abusive relationships, but even there I'd say the abused has some responsibility. If the abuser is going to react to the abused's lateness in an unacceptable way, the abused has the option of not coming home at all. I realize it's a lot more complicated than that, but that's the essence of my feelings on the subject of personal responsibility. That in no way means we shouldn't help others who are in situations they can't handle -- we should. In my mind, the judgment should only ever be directed inward if it's going to be effective.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 09:02 am
Oh, good point, soz.
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