The Importance of Owning Your Sh*t

Embracing your personal failings instead of defending them.

Far too often, we associate what we’ve done with who we are. This is why we grow defensive when confronted about behavior that others may have found offensive, hurtful, insensitive or otherwise off-putting. Our natural inclination is to reject criticism and receive any issues with our actions as character assassination.

Being unable to separate the two, what we’ve done and who we are, makes it difficult for us to accept our wrongdoings or areas where we may have fallen short. If we can’t accept it, we can’t own it. If we don’t own it, we can’t learn from it. If we don’t learn from it, we can’t change it.

We are then doomed to exhibit the same behavior and repeat the same cycles over and over and over again. Our potential to evolve is severely limited when we refuse to hold ourselves accountable for less than desirable behavior or objectively see ourselves through someone else’s lens.

When you acknowledge your own flaws, you take away the power of others to use them against you.

Intimate personal details aside, if what is said about me is truthful and impartial, I will not be offended no matter whom it is told to. Thus, it can’t be used to hurt me. Others may feel embarrassed or even insulted when people decide to share areas where they could improve, or something they may have done or said that they wish they hadn’t. When this is the case, you will always be an easy target and someone who can be held captive or attacked by their own shortcomings.

Accountability is not just knowing you were wrong. It’s acknowledging you were wrong before someone else has a chance to — or at least taking responsibility for it once they have.

Doing or saying something that may have hurt a friend does not mean you’re a bad friend. Making some mistakes as a parent does not make you a bad parent. The atrocity is when we try to pretend that these things didn’t happen, and we take away someone else’s right to have been negatively affected.

Make no mistake, we are what we repeatedly do. However, we are not what we did that one time six years ago when we were still learning and growing.

Don’t allow your mistakes to define you and they cannot confine you.

Author of the critically acclaimed book on women and relationship status, “Single That.”

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