If there is one key lesson that I hope to have taught my daughter is the lesson of taking responsibility for your actions. Or your inaction. I don’t remember at what age I realized that blaming other people for my missteps was ridiculous and made me look even more ridiculous but once I embraced the fact that I was ultimately responsible it changed my life.
It makes me nuts when people point fingers and refuse to see how they may have contributed to whatever bad situation that they are currently facing. For example, when I confront my daughter about a below average grade that she received, her immediate response is something along the lines of, “the teacher this” or “the teacher that”. When she was complaining about not getting enough hours at her job, I asked her if she asked for more … blank stare.
Speak up. Take responsibility. Own it.
It’s okay, in fact it’s admirable to say, ‘Okay, it was me. I’m the reason I didn’t get the promotion. I’m the reason the relationship ended. I’m the reason I got the speeding ticket.” Everything is not everyone else’s fault. The "man" isn't out to get you. There is no conspiracy. It's not because of white folks. Sometimes we have to take a cold, hard look at ourselves and figure out where we may have gone wrong.
I’m not talking about being a martyr. Don’t take blame that doesn’t rightfully belong to you.
I remember a few years ago when I was seeing a counselor and I told her that I was a failure at marriage. She stopped me and said that I can’t take all the blame for my failed marriages. I came back at her and gave her a laundry list of reasons why the divorces were entirely my fault. She simply reminded me that it takes two. It actually wasn’t my fault that my first husband was a lying bigamist. Yes, I ignored some red flags but it wasn’t all my fault that he chose to ask me to marry him when he already had a wife.
So there’s a balance that has to be achieved. We have to learn how to look at situations objectively. We have to stop pointing fingers. I tell my daughter that if she thinks she’s grown enough to do this and that, she better be grown enough to deal with it when it comes back to bite her in the butt. And it always come back to bite you in the butt.