Lesson 45: Own your mistakes, take responsibility

I remember a time when I used to be scared of the consequences when it came to mistakes or bad choices.  It was one of the many unknowns in this world and when you are young, you have not yet had enough experience with failure to understand what it truly means or how important it is.  In most cases, that fear never fully goes away.  That doesn’t make it a bad thing.  Like many things in life, the more you understand failure and its value, the easier it is to deal with when it arises.  Believe it or not, it is among the most valuable tools anyone can possess and when wielded responsibly, it can lead to better things.  One of the sexiest, and most attractive things you can do, is take responsibility for your actions.

There are so many reasons why this is true.  Owning your mistakes demonstrates to other people that you take responsibility for your actions and possess humility.  Why does that matter?  It takes courage and maturity to fess up to your own mistakes and even if that mistake negatively impacts others, your ability to take responsibility will almost always lessen the impact on others.  This will, in turn, minimize the negative impact the mistake will have on you.  The ability to admit an error is a crucial step towards working on a solution.  It will also serve as a reminder that there is no challenge you are not ready for and no matter what happens, you are in complete control of the outcome.

It also has a very powerful impact on your own mentality.  The way you view your actions and reaction is important.  There is a comfort in knowing that you are not infallible and that mistakes are inevitable.  It is a very liberating feeling.  When you start to view them as opportunities for improvement or valuable life lessons, you will notice a shift in how you view mistakes in the future.  You will notice that others come at you differently when you make other mistakes.  When you demonstrate that you are willing and able to take responsibility, people will find you more approachable and agreeable.  The ability to own your mistakes also earns you the most valuable currency in existence.  Respect.

Respect from others is important, but respect for yourself is even more so.  You may get away with a lie and maybe no one else will ever know or find out, but you will.  While it may be satisfying at the time, eventually, you will come to terms with what you were.  Inadequate.  That is an emotional sting that you don’t want or need.  You have value.  You have potential.  Neither of those will ever be realized if you lie and cheat your way from one experience to the next.  Sure, you might progress, but without those earned experiences, eventually you will get found out and you will crash hard.  It is a crash you will not easily recover from.

Same thing in a relationship.  Learn to admit your flaws.  It is OK to own your past.  That honesty will serve as an invaluable currency.  More valuable than any money or gift.  It is an experience that will get you places.  Let it be the guiding light towards making you a better person and more lovable partner.  There is nothing sexier than a responsible partner.  There are few things more disgusting than a person who is so afraid of the truth that they have trouble facing it and taking responsibility for it.  Don’t be afraid.  The truth may hurt in the moment, but like any good investment, the day will come when it pays off immeasurably.

By being so open and honest, you are also encouraging them to do the same.  Someone needs to take the first step.  Why not you?  This is how trust is developed.  If they reciprocate the openness and admit to their flaws, they aren’t really flaws are they?  They become lessons learned.  They develop into a deep love and unwavering trust.  This is the foundation of a strong relationship that will last.  Quality relationships have a strong foundation and a strong foundation is full of responsibility and personal ownership.  There are no take backs.  What is done is done.  What you choose to do about it is the only thing you have control over.  Take positive control.

Takeaways:

  1. Have some self respect.
  2. Just because your lie worked, doesn’t mean you got away with it.
  3. Respect and ownership are a valuable currency.
  4. Reciprocated trust and respect make for a strong relationship foundation.
  5. Take positive control.

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