Taking responsibility for your actions. Sounds easy, but can be so incredibly difficult at times, right? Making other people responsible for their actions? That can be even more difficult for some, too easy for others. This has always perplexed me. I mean I get why it happens, it just doesn't make any sense. And why should it. Emotional behavior doesn't make sense.
Our life is driven by pleasure and pain. We try to maximize the former and minimize the latter. In a world where physical pain is highly rare, emotional pain takes center stage. That is especially true for our quest to minimize feeling bad. Even then, it doesn't make sense.
We have gone in depth to discuss what happens when we are emotional. Challenged in answering one of the four core questions, we experience an unwarranted physical sensation. Deferring to the misleading emotion, we lie to ourselves and skew how we see reality. That skew causes conflict between what is and what we want it to be. The implication is a truism; we are bending the world to meet us. We all know the world doesn't bend, so, at the very least, we have introduced a scenario that causes conflict. Even under optimal circumstances where that instance doesn't repeat - and that is a far-fethched concept, especially if others are part of the conflict - we, deep down inside, know what we've done. And that is one of the most profound realizations I may have ever made.
We know when we lie. Always.
There is something about our higher-level reasoning that records our use of a cognitive distortion. Even if others around us seemingly accept it, we seem to know the truth. What really happened. I've put this to the test on numerous occasions and one hundred percent of the time, it works. To see this in action - albeit a dramataized but still excellent version - I suggest you watch (or re-watch) the scene from Good Will Hunting where Robin William's character repeats "It's not your fault".
We have emotions for a reason. They propel constructive action. That means that when we make a mistake, we must satisfactorily acknowledge and correct it. It is a zero sum game. For when you fail to do either, a little part of you - literally, the neurons in your brain - knows the truth. Even if you get everyone around you to agree with your skewed reality and, really, especially when. Because we know that they know.
If you've ever noticed, people who are dishonest are not happy. They never can be. Because happiness is about looking at the past and knowing that you are good and that you have value. And when you let a lie exist, your ability to think "Am I good?" gets diminished. And your ability to reinforce "Do I have value?" is decreased. In both cases you have violated the Golden Rule, and your hermetically-sealed trap of higher-level reasoning never lets you get away with dishonesty.
I highly recommend that when you are the problem, you admit to being so, telling others and doing something about it. Because, if you don't, you lose the right to >make others accountable. And you definitely won't be able to eradicate the thought pattern that drove the irrational thinking in the first place.
Always make sure you are willing to take personal responsibility.