There comes a time in all our lives when we have to start taking responsibility. For some, learning to take responsibility comes early – like the time, aged 9, I played hairdressers with my best mate, Tracy, and sent her home looking like she’d been attacked by Edward Scissorhands. Hands up. Yep. It was my idea - sorry, Tracy.
For others, responsibility comes later; a natural progression into adulthood, and often as a result of a life changing event, such as getting a job or becoming a parent.
For a few, responsibility never becomes part of their lives. These people choose to shirk responsibility, and instead, develop mechanisms to deflect ‘blame’ away from themselves, and on to others, ultimately absolving themselves of culpability. Eventually, the cognitive process developed to avoid taking responsibility becomes ingrained within them, and their daily lives. As responsibility is an inevitable part of life, the amount of time and energy spent deflecting blame and seeking to pin accountability elsewhere, becomes, at best, an irksome character flaw, and at worse, a perpetual cycle of lies and blind denial, as the person simply becomes unable to ever accept their failings or responsibilities. Either way, it’s frustrating and exhausting.
If you live or work with someone who is unable to take responsibility for their actions, you become embroiled in tiresome and juvenile disagreements which, you soon learn, you can never win, because the person who is unable to take responsibility for their actions has raised themselves to demi-god proportions - after all, to err is to be human…and to forgive – well, that’s just too divine!
We learn from our mistakes – not only on a practical level, but also on an emotional level as we start to understand how our actions have affected people. A person who can never admit their fallibility can never really learn to empathise with those affected by the mistakes. And those who refuse to accept the gravity of their responsibility in a role they hold – be it as a husband, wife, parent, friend, whatever, can never really be fully aware of the potential effects failing, or at least not trying their best, might have on those around them.
To be with a partner who never admits responsibility for their actions is a double-edged sword. Not only are they absolving themselves of blame, in turn, pointing the finger of ‘blame’ at you, downplaying and twisting the facts in order to dig themselves out of a hole, but by denying responsibility they may also be denying you, your emotional reaction to the situation or events. How many times do we hear, ‘Oh she was over-reacting! It wasn’t my fault, so I don’t know why she got so upset!?’ To not own up to your fuck-ups means you also have the deluded luxury of not being responsible for the emotional reaction, or, apoplectic meltdown - in my case - of those affected.
We are all human and none of us are perfect. Our imperfections make us unique, and our uniqueness is what makes us attractive to others – both on a platonic and romantic level. Although no one wants to be with someone who repeatedly makes bad decisions and constantly fucks up, someone who is able to take responsibility for their mistakes or behaviour; who is able to apologise, and who learns from those mistakes, growing immeasurably as a person by doing so, is the type of person we all prefer to be around.
So, that's my existentialist theory on responsibility. Take note, Mr Perfect, owning your fuck-ups is by far the bigger turn-on than any dick-pics you might want to send ;o)
Oh, and what has the picture of me standing by an airplane made of flowers got to do with this post? Nothing, really. But you try finding an image which sums of existentialism and responsibility!