Weekly Journal – Taking Responsibility
As I continue to work on myself, one of the things I want to focus on moving forward is taking responsibility. This is something ten years ago I would have said was a strength of mine, but I’ve come to the conclusion I was wrong in that assessment. After being arrested I didn’t deny my criminal actions and from our first meeting, I asked my lawyer to work out a deal to plead guilty. In my mind at the time, that was trying to take responsibility. But looking back that is only half of the equation. It is not enough to just acknowledge what you did and say you were wrong. Instead, I was weak and defensive and made excuses.
At the time I didn’t look at it that way. I looked at it as trying to put some things in context or clarifying assumptions I didn’t feel were entirely true. But I was wrong. By relying on certain motivations too heavily and ignoring others, I was rationalizing and minimizing my behavior which is the same thing as making an excuse. It is the same type of thought process that led me to my criminal behavior in the first place. Not to mention there is no reasoning that could mitigate my culpability anyway. After self-reflection, I deeply regret not only my original actions but my poor attempts to take responsibility. To fully accept responsibility so I can leave this experience trying to be a better person, I need to own it all as my failure and try to change to be the person I thought I was.
I think there are some traps people fall into that prevent them from taking responsibility and I definitely fell into them, again because of my own failures and weaknesses. The first trap is deluding yourself or compartmentalizing things because you don’t want to face yourself in the mirror or the damage you caused. A second trap is in the verbiage people use to describe their crime. I know I wanted to call what I did a mistake I made. To focus on the fact that I had lived the majority of my life and career trying to be a good person and help others except for this ” mistake.” But the word “mistake” lets me off the hook and like so many other excuses tries to minimize things. It makes it sound like an accident or a one-time lapse in judgment. I knowingly committed a selfish crime because I made a series of bad choices. I need to accept that and use it to remind myself I never want to cause this kind of pain ever again.
I was 100% wrong with my crime and I was wrong with how I handled the aftermath. There is no excuse or reason and I owed everyone better. I failed the victims and my family and in order to improve and be who I want to be, I need to continue working on fully accepting responsibility. I want to do better for myself and instill this value in my children, so I will continue to use my time here on self-reflection along with reading, talking to professionals, and taking classes that look at this issue.”