Be it stuffing a broken component back into the cupboard to make it seem like the next person’s problem and responsibility, to knowing when you did something wrong but lacking the courage to accept and apologize – we all have been there in one part of our lives or another, and here is why that is problematic.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist, came forward with a ground-breaking theory in the field of Psychology: The Hierarchy of Human Needs Theory. This theory highlighted five stages of Needs in a person’s life, which without their fulfillment would lead the person feeling incredibly unsatisfied, anxious and out of place. In the theory, the pyramid-like structure of the needs is simple: The bottom most need is the most demanding, the one above it is a bit less and so on. A person cannot move to the stage or level above if their current level need is not satisfied.
Maslow breaks the five stages or levels of needs into two categories: Deficiency Needs and Growth Needs. The Deficiency Needs include the first four needs, i.e. Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Social Needs and Esteem Needs. Like the name suggests, the un-fulfillment of these needs leads to a uncomfortable deficiency, dissatisfaction, anxiety and a feeling of being “out of place”. In simpler words, the fulfillment of these needs is a prerequisite to living a healthy and happy life. The shorter the distance between the current unsatisfied need to the first level need (Physiological Needs), the greater the feelings of anxiety and stress.
So what does Maslow have to say about the importance of taking responsibility for your actions? Well, a higher self esteem, sense of self, self confidence and self respect stems from the ability and action of taking responsibility for your actions. In Maslow’s Needs Pyramid, the fourth need (which also comes under Deficiency Needs) is Esteem Needs, and as previously discussed, Esteem Needs demand to be fulfilled, they are a prerequisite to living a healthy and happy life. Their dissatisfaction creates discomfort, stress , anxiety and feeling “out of place”. In the light of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs Theory, taking responsibility for your actions is crucial to building and satisfying your Esteem Needs.
Here is your daily dose of the truth: Responsibility is maturity. The world is not meant to be an easy place, we all need to make space for ourselves.
On the highroad to becoming better and happier version of ourselves, we need to let go of habits which are toxic to us in the long run, and today lets learn how to take responsibility for our actions.
One might still be confused and ask the question, “How is putting the blame and stress of my mistakes on someone else toxic for me?”, well, for starters is the explanation provided by Maslow, discussed above, secondly, mistakes and experiences are the best teachers.
Lets take this simply: Mistakes are a part of being a human being. There is no such thing as “perfect”, in fact, the only perfect definition and explanation of a human is that they are messy. Humans are not supposed to be perfect and free of mistakes. Most mistakes are a great learning tool; they teach us the rights and wrongs and moreover, they shape us into the mature person that we are. Take an example of a child: A child does not know that the fire is hot and that it burns. We see the child continuously ignoring the constant efforts of the parents to not get too close, however, once the child does as soon as they get a chance and manages to touch it, is the moment that they learn that fire burns and hurts. On the child’s part, this was a mistake. However, it was a also a teacher from which the child is going to benefit from in the years to come and steer clear of accidentally burning themselves.
Know That Mistakes Are A Necessary Teacher
The first step to taking responsibility for your actions is to tell yourself again and again that mistakes happen. If it weren’t for your mistakes, then we would not know how to go on around life. A child is born a blank canvas with no understanding of life whatsoever, however, with time, through experience, imitation, mistakes and observation, the child learns. If the child excretes anywhere in the house while being a toddler, he is scolded and taught that the toilet is the place. Mistakes are helpful and important for learning. If you have made a genuine mistake, then do not see it as a shame.
The “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” Blame Game
The second step is to not resort to the “get out of jail free card” blame game once things stop going your way. The bliss of putting the blame on someone else is temporary, however, the rotten, guilty feeling is long term. Recognize your habit: if you end up blaming the situation and others if something around you messes up and is clearly your fault. This is a defense mechanism of sort, where the person blames something or someone else for their demise.
Accept Your Action To Yourself And Others
Accept your mistake. Knowing that mistakes are necessary is not the same thing as accepting your mistakes. The first step, as recalled is to understand that mistakes aren’t exactly bad. Now take it one step further, first accept it yourself that you made a mistake and make sure you learned from it, next, apologize to anyone you hurt in the process.
Familiarize Yourself With The Concept Of Growth
Self growth is a concept which is quite underrated. We say “first impression is the last impression” which is true, but it eliminates all the room for self-growth. Recognize that no one is born the best version of themselves, we all are learning and changing ourselves for the better. If you previously made a mistake then tell yourself that you have learned from it and have changed for the better.