My friend has this saying, “See it, own it, solve it.” At the time I heard him say this, I was struggling with my work partner. There were a lot of things about that situation that were out of my control, but not everything. There were things I could do to affect my situation, and it began with learning to see in a different light.
Can you see your strengths? Can you see your weaknesses? Can you be objective enough to see your own actions from another’s point of view? If the answer to some of those questions is no – take a breath. These are skills, things we have to practice.
Sometimes the best way to start is with a favorite book or film. Take a look at a character you like, ask why they do what they do – then take a look at the character who opposes them (that could be an ally or, more commonly, the antagonist). What is their point of view? What are their motivations? You may also find observing other people as they problem-solve helpful, as you can more clearly see both sides of an argument.
The more you practice the more it will become second nature. As I’ve practiced this skill I’ve gained a better understanding of myself, the ways I can help people, and also the ways I’ve hurt them.
Take responsibility for your own actions. If you said something in anger that you didn’t mean – own it. It will only hurt more to try and deny when you make mistakes. Additionally, being honest about your mistakes will help you make improvements for the future, rather than repeating the same hurtful actions again and again.
Lastly, “solve it”. Apologize – and don’t just say the words, but make a plan and take action. The trouble with just saying “sorry” is that – if there’s no corrective action to accompany it – nothing changes. Feelings may be soothed for a moment, but the pattern of behavior will repeat unless action is taken to change and grow.
Change doesn’t have to be earthshaking.
For example, I once asked my roommates to only put their dishes in the right-hand side of the sink so I could still do my dishes right after I was done cooking. It wasn’t a large thing, but it was something that really helped me stay on top of my own tasks.
On paper all of this looks easy. It’s not. Relationships are messy, and life gets in the way of simple things. The fact of the matter is, we will try, and we will make mistakes. The important thing is that we get up, that we don’t let failure rule our lives. We invite you today to begin the process of becoming accountable. Learn to see yourself more clearly, own the mistakes you have made, and take steps to grow through them.