Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ownership - GBE2, Week #23

Wow – what a perfect topic for me to come back to. It was meant to be.
There’s more to ownership than merely having legal possession of something. It’s easy to own your car, your home, your pets, your clothing or any number of other physical objects. What’s hard is owning your behaviors – taking responsibility for how you act and what you expect of others.

So many people find it very easy to put blame on others when the problem lies in their own actions. The problem there is that they don’t want to own their behaviors; don’t want the responsibility that comes with being wrong about something or making a mistake of any kind. They find someone else to hold responsible so that they don’t have to face their own fallibilities. Whether it’s because they believe that admitting to being wrong is a sign of weakness or simply cannot see the errors of their ways, they can make it terribly hard on those around them who would love to help them, but who are tired of being held responsible for their failures.

I have a dear friend who is far more intelligent than he considers himself. Yet, there are days and times when it seems he’s doing his best to live up to his low self-image. But, since he can’t admit that he is doing just that, he finds it easier to hold me responsible if I refuse to help him out of the hole he has dug for himself. I don’t mind helping when he’s in the hole digging with me. I do mind when he expects me to do all the digging while he sits back and critiques and attempts to put me on a schedule that is usually a tight one because he has failed to even have the digging implements ready and available to do the digging.

Confused yet? Let me explain. My friend is attending school under the TARP program for people who have lost their jobs because their employer sent the jobs overseas. He already has a Master’s degree, but Political Science is pretty hard to market these days unless you’re a politician. To add to it, he managed to graduate without learning how to use a computer. So, now he needs to gain some marketable skills that will mesh well with his previous education and provide him with today’s computer skills in order to do the job he plans to obtain as a paralegal.

I do not mind helping him write his papers or type up his assignments. I type better than him, but he does need to become better versed with the keyboard. I told him he MUST take a keyboarding class – he will be expected to type, whether he likes it or not. Instead, he has been concentrating on the law courses, which is fine as long as he actually does the work assigned. His problem is that he doesn’t even open the book. He waits until the assignment is due and comes running to me demanding that I do his assignment for him, how I shouldn’t do this to him (when I refuse), how I’m being selfish because I start arguing with him over his irresponsible behavior, and then throwing out reminders of the things he does for me on a regular basis, like take me to the doctor or shopping or to the bank – which obviously aren’t the same kinds of things at all. Plus, I always counted those things as partial payback for the help that I give him with his assignments. He just can’t see the inequity in his actions and tries to play the guilt card if I don’t jump to do just what he wants after he has failed to do anything himself.

He is very spoiled. His parents have always given in to his and his brother’s demands, however irrational they might be, however self-centered they might be. His parents are older than me, but I have had to tell them they have created monsters because they don’t say no. His brother is far worse than he is which is why HE is my friend and his brother isn't  The one who is my friend is loving and kind and has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know – yet, he also has this spoiled, childish side that rears its head periodically and needs to be put back in its place as quickly as possible lest it grow into something far less endearing. Their parents are finally stepping up and placing boundaries, but it shouldn’t have taken three decades to occur. But, I also don’t think anyone has ever actually told them about it before, either.

But, that’s my story about ownership. Take ownership of your actions, of your words, of your behaviors. Don’t think that someone else should be held responsible just because you didn't do your part. While there may be times that someone else shares responsibility, you almost always had some say in the process and you need to recognize that. If you don’t, then you’ll never learn from your experiences. I think you’ll be a lot happier, too, because you won’t be as likely to harbor anger against others since you’ll no longer blame them like you were.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful post!That must be pretty tough holding a masters in political science, unemployed and no computer skills! He's lucky to have a friend like you :)

October 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I think you have to stick to your guns because if he doesn't master the keyboard, he will lose any job he manages to obtain as a paralegal. Typing is very important to any office these days. Seriously Dude!

Sometimes being a friend means saying, "Nope, not this time."

October 26, 2011 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Brenda Stevens said...

some personalities work this way; "slot" you into their projects. I use to have BFF as they say; who does this. Wanted to believe she really cared but she does this ALOT and well it makes me really pull back and reflect. I see she does this to everyone she lives with and I don't think she knows how NOT to. Control issues reveal submerged anger and the hidden belief; "its owed me" and quite frankly its like what someone said earlier; "SERIOUSLY DUDE"!

October 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it's a good thing that you are able to set limits, because even though this guy has a good heart, he'd definitely wildly take advantage if you were an easy mark. You're right, taking ownership is absolutely essential.

I'm so glad to see you this week! :O)

October 29, 2011 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Paula Martin said...

You are very wise to make him take responsbility for himself instead of relying on you for everything.

November 12, 2011 at 8:45 AM  

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