Taking Ownership

Sounds like a cliche. Pop psychology term. Management speak. New Age thinking. To me at least.

“Taking ownership”. What does it even mean? Why is the term bandied about so much in therapists chairs, self-help books and advice columns? I don’t think I even like the phrase.

But, irrespective of my own bias, I see the value in it and understand it is something I need to do. Whether I like it or not. I need to “own” my life again. And I need to figure out how.

I suppose I need to start with identifying what it means to be “me”. I need to draw up boundaries. Within the boundaries are things I can do, achieve, take control of, take responsibility for, improve on. My life. “Me”. Outside the boundaries are things I cannot control. Job opportunities. The weather. Luck. Chance. The past. How people think about me. What they say about me. Whether someone loves me, or is attracted to me. Whilst I can do my best to influence these things, it need to accept that I have no real control over them.

I must focus on my life, and learn to be “me”, and worry only about the stuff inside the boundaries. I need to take stock of what I have. My possessions. My mental and physical health. My work. My pastimes. My living space. My family and my friends. My emotional and physical needs. I must invest in these things and look after them. They are all I have and they are what defines me. I need to start loving and respecting the life I have. Things could be much better, sure. But they could be much worse too.

Within my boundaries, I must learn to identify problems, accept them, address them, and get them fixed. I need to add to what I have, and make it the best of it that I can. I need to listen more to myself and my emotions. I need to respect myself as a “person” in my own right. Because I AM a person. I deserve love too. I have needs that too often I ignore because I always put myself last – like I don’t deserve better.

And here is “ownership” in motion. Funny it should happen whilst I write my blog.

I just got a message from the girl that I love. The girl who decided she didn’t love me back. A job opportunity has come up in another country and she is thinking of going for it. How do I react to this? How do I take ownership?

I know how I want to act. I want to rage because I am jealous. Why does stuff like this never happen me? I want to rage because whilst I am dying inside, she seems to be getting on so well in her life. She is enjoying it, and doesn’t think about me all that much. I want to cry because I know that this change will probably mean we will drift apart and I will eventually lose contact with her for good. She will forget about me. And other lucky guys will get the chance to know her and win her love. I want to drink. To forget. To wallow in sorrow and self-pity.

However, I must accept that I have no ownership over her or what she does with her life. I have no control over what job opportunities come up for her, or where they are based. The only control I have is over this situation is how I allow myself to think and feel and react. I must allow myself to feel sadness, and disappointment. Why shouldn’t I? They are rational emotions to this situation. I must not beat myself up for feeling sad or disappointed. I permit myself to. i LOVED HER! But I must not feel rage or fear. These emotions are much too strong – too negative – too out of control. They are based on assumptions that I have created in my warped mind.

She once belonged inside the boundary that is my life. She chose to leave. I must choose to let her go. I must choose to focus my energies on what remains. On ME!

Suddenly, taking ownership doesn’t look like such a bad thing to do with one’s self.