Taking personal responsibility in your relationships is a powerful reminder that you have some control in them. It helps to heal your shame and creates trust and dependability. All of which is really important for emotional intimacy in your relationships.
No one is perfect.
That means everyone makes mistakes in relationships and of course it is sometimes really hard to see your part in them. But digging into the work of healing your shame coupled with ownership of your life, the vulnerability to see your part in the problem leads to solutions and deeper connection.
This doesn’t mean you accept all blame that is slung your way, of course not.
Blame from others is a form of anger and deflection of their parts. But carefully listening to what is being said and then running it through your own filter of self awareness and accountability will allow you to see your part in situations.
Where you weren’t totally honest. Maybe you were building walls because of fear of rejection or you didn’t speak up for your needs honestly.
Here are 5 Ways You Can Take Personal Responsibility In Your Relationships.
- Get honest. This is a similar principle to saying you can’t fully love others until you love yourself. It’s hard to be in mutually honest relationships when you aren’t completely clear about your life. Honesty is a big part of self-awareness and can be developed with specific work on it.
If you want to dig into it more there is a Self-Awareness Challenge in the Guides section of the Confident Sober Woman Facebook group. This can start with very simple actions of awareness like eating with friends and family. If you prepare something you are planning to share with someone and you do it exactly the way you want it without asking them you might inadvertently add a hated ingredient.
If this happens a healthy responsible response would be “I’m so sorry, I should have asked you before I added that I didn’t know you didn’t like it”. Answer honestly when asked for your opinion.
How often does your partner or friend say where do you want to go to dinner and you just shrug and say whatever you want. But then when they choose it is something you really don’t want. There is a way to provide options while also allowing for their thoughts. Give two or three of your favorites as options so you know you won’t be disappointed.
These small changes lead to much bigger transformations over time when scaled to more involved emotional situations.
- Over communicate. You have likely heard more than one time communication is the number one factor to good relationships. There’s a reason for that, because it’s true.
I take it one step further and say over communicate because it helps to prevent mistakes, and the resentments that happen when someone constantly forgets things. Take time to go over schedules weekly together to be sure everyone knows what is happening during that week. Then do spot checks daily to confirm.
If there is an emotional or physical need you have to communicate it in more than one way and repeat it when you feel a reminder would be helpful. Share personal and professional goals both long and short term and then write them down. Review them often and reshare when things come up that are either working or not working towards moving you in the right direction.
- Be responsive not reactive. Very often in relationships of any kind when challenges come up, mistakes are made or feelings are hurt, the other person becomes defensive or angry. They might lash out with mean words or yell. If there is a history of these types of reactions in your relationships it likely affects you deeply and may cause you to either react back or retreat.
Challenge yourself to slow down the process which allows you to see it with more clarity and identify what part of the situation you need to take responsibility for and what part you might not. Use your breath to slow down your brain but breathing in deeply through the nose filling up the belly and then slowly slowly releasing.
You can use counting, or visualization as well as a too, or simply say you need a time out. When you come back to the conversation you will have more ability to speak up appropriately, share feelings and take responsibility.
- Be willing to forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness and acceptance walk a parallel line and are necessary for internal peace as well as healthy relationships. We know that all humans are flawed and therefore mistakes will be made. You must be willing to apologize for wrong doings and also accept that from those important people in your life. This is an opportunity to learn.
Although it might feel like you are putting your tail between your legs or giving in, when done right forgiving others for their wrong doings allows you to let go and move on. This deepens emotional intimacy and the feeling of fulfillment in relationships. It shows your humanness. That you are accepting the other person as they are, mistakes and all.
Forgiveness is about you, not the other person. You ultimately are doing it to relieve you from the bondage to that situation and move on.
- Take control of your health. Having healthy relationships isn’t just about the interactions between two or more people, it is also affected by your physical health. When you make yourself a priority by take control of your mind and body, you are respecting yourself.
This translates into how others see you as well. When your partner, children or friends see you making decisions that directly improve your life, they will internalize that you are the kind of person that wants to be healthy, that wants to grow. Now not everyone will like those changes we see that a lot in early sobriety, but the important ones will view you as a woman who care about herself, is confident and takes action to improve her life.
All of us are in relationships of some kind and when we learn to take responsibility for our own lives it deeply affects them.