Thursday, September 30, 2010

What? Personal Responsibility?

My response to this quote goes something like this: "YEAH, but..."
... but I'm not the type of person that sweeps only in front of my own door.  I sweep in front of a lot of others' doors, too.  (Seriously, I stop and straighten up my neighbors' welcome mats in front of their apartment doors, which is so not my responsibility.) I assume responsibility for a lot of things that are none of my business - I can be quite the nag.  For some reason, I feel it necessary to assume personal responsibility for a lot of things because I feel something won't be done correctly  and the outcome may directly affect me (selfish much?) Aren't we all up in other's beeswax?  Every single one of us?  Is it preventable? Do we spend way more time assuming others' responsbilities than our own? Is it better to be nonchalant about our jobs, conversations with friends, and daily responsibilities as wives, mothers, sisters, and friends, rather than be all up in everyone's everything?  As I ponder these thoughts, I start to wonder what the heck personal responsibility really even is. Before I get in way over my head,  I think I'll revert back to what my initial - and simple - idea was when I first found out that I would be sharing my thoughts about personal responsbility as part of Susie K's Blog-Gang attempt to take over the blogosphere:

Today, you will be learning about a few personal traits and hang-ups of mine that are quite flawed, somewhat unreasonable, and maybe even a little surprising to my faithful readers.  That's right - Miss Chirpy Blogger has issues!  I'm hoping some of you can relate, rather than hate! :D

Personal Responsibility. I really suck at it sometimes.

When I'm having a bad day, occasionally i'll blame it on everyone and everything else except for myself - I have a way of twisting things around so that I'm the victim. Before I know it, a large chunk of time has been wasted on feeling all crazy, unhappy, and hostile. I'm aware that I perform this immature, unfair act - so why do I continue to do it?  I'm a girl... I'm PMS-ing... I have a short fuse, i'm a fiery redhead... pretty soon, my lame excuses run out.  When it comes down to the matter at hand, I need practice. Practice with personal responsbility.

Someone said something that was offensive and disrespectful.  And now, I am MAD!
Certain "types" of comments get under my skin.  I'm not real great at handling close-minded claims, bragging, hurtful teasing, or jealousy.  Instead of brushing off these types of comments that I know are silly and don't deserve an ounce of my energy, I go nuts.  Never to the person's face - always later. That's when I start thinking.  I think about past offensive comments of similar subject matter that have been made to me, similiar situations where I was forced to bite my tongue and nearly choked on it, the earlier days when the mean girl in high school said something that hurt my feelings.  Pretty soon, I'm wishing I could go back to 5th grade when my lockermate told me my lunchbox smelled funny (bologna does smell funny, but still), and scream at her.  (Do I have a mental problem? Maybe.)  Usually, I don't feel better until I tell my husband about the initial comment that caused me to blow up. His gentle reminder that "I borrow trouble" somewhat angers me, but after I take a "time out" and think for a little while, I realize he's right.  Then I'm cooled off. and totally over it. Until the next time. 
Why can't i assume personal responability and simply... not pay any attention to nasty folks and their silly sayings?  Why can't I be the bigger person and let go of the emotional hang ups I have?  I really don't know.  As I said before... I'm a girl, and I have PMS. haha. I know you're nodding your head because you've experience a similar situation/reaction.  You do this too, don't you?!

I straight-up rolled out of the wrong side of the bed this a.m.
Trudging to the bathroom in complete darkness, I already feel bad vibes.  I should take personal responsbility and turn the shower radio on to my favorite radio station, use my favorite citrusy shower gel, and try to get chirpy and happy. Instead, I bathe in silence, use my husband's bar soap, and wait... for something good to happen.  Using this technique, I could be waiting all day!  I typically try to see every day as special, but sometimes, I just settle for a "so-so" day - I'm sure others do it, too.  Every day needs to be a GREAT one! Except, I'm lacking in the personal responsibility department and for some reason can't seem to succeed at viewing every single day as a blessing.  I need to make it a special day - no one else is responsible for that.  I realize this after I've had my "so-so" day and am getting ready to go to sleep.

Someone I love is having a bad day, so I'm going to have a bad day, too. 
I do two things: 1) I assume responsibility for the other person's worries by trying to make everything better, when in reality, it might be best if i keep my distance - or at least, shut my mouth a little.  2) When doing this, I channel all the negative energy surrounding my loved one to myself as well - it's like i try to fight it FOR them, and in turn, I absorb it... but they're not any better, and I find myself feeling worse than I did on the day my little friend made fun of my bologna scented lunch box. 
I know we all do this, and it's only because we care- but why can't I stay strong for my dear friend of family member, and not let myself get down because they're down? It's hard to see someone struggle and go about your business like nothing's going on. 
If we simply adhere to sweeping our own doorsteps in situations like these, who's going to help us out if we need it? How much "help" is too much? Is it really even "help"?  (I believe so.) 

What does all of this mean? Should we simply stick to sweeping our own doorsteps only at work and in class? I'm not sure, but I wish someone would've stepped up and swept my doorstep when my lockermate made fun of my lunchbox.  I was too feeble and meepy to talk back to her then, and would've appreciated the help.  But maybe if she would've swept her own doorstep, my lunchbox wouldn't have been insulted!

Be sure to swing by Susie K's blog, MotherHoot, on Thursday for more takes on Personal Responsbility!

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Rebekah said...

I think we all assume personal responsibility for a lot of people, but then I think it's safe to say that they do the same for us. Can I just say that I love that you straighten up people's mats? When we lived in apts, I always wanted to straighten up other peoples porches and things like that, but never had the guts!

Susie Kline said...

I'm more apt to straighten other people's door mats than my own! Great post. I like your description of taking on another person's bad day/mood. I do that too sometimes!

Feel free to come over and sweep my front porch any time!

xo Susie

Cecilia said...

Great point of view, I never thought of my PMS as not been responsible. Love the post!

Midwestern Mama Holly said...

I too have a habit of taking on others moods or feeling responsible for others moods. I think maybe we are all guilty of this in one way or the other.
Great post.

Ragen Chastain said...

Great post - I love that you own your issues. I absolutely understand what you mean about having a bad day with a friend -I can certainly be all about the trauma bonding. As far as the lunch box example, I think there's a difference between stepping in to help someone who is being bullied and trying to be the boss of someone else's underpants. I totally would have defended your lunchbox!

Melissa Mashburn said...

When I read your comment about the shower and waiting, I thought to myself, "I wonder if she has actually waited for hours in the shower for things to change?" I only wondered that because I have been known to. LOL

I like what you pointed out, how we often take on someone else's responsibility as our own.

Awesome Post!

Carolyn (temysmom) said...

I love the good/day bad day part. You are so right... we should be waking up every day and making it a great one. I never do this. I wake up and depending on how my morning goes, I let that determine how the rest of the day goes. My bad. Never again. I'm really going to make an effort to find something good about each day.

Krystal said...

Following from Buzz on By Thursdays.

Amber said...

I loved this post, Steph! I found myself agreeing with almost all of it. I have my days!! I think personal responsibility and what it means has definitely changed for me over the years. Not sure if that's such a great thing all the time :)

Loved this!

Wicked Shawn said...

Such a valid point. Why is it we tend to other's doorsteps so often, but then leave our own unswept? Awesome POV.