While on a personal journey of greatness and becoming an all-around D.O.P.E individual, recent introspection has shown me an area of my life that needed major improvement. It is an area that I’ve become intentional about changing. The area I refer to is the area of ownership and responsibility. There was a time when I’d blame my issues on anything and anyone but me. I now see clearly the error of my ways. I am not exactly sure why it took me so long to understand this concept and the importance of taking ownership of my own life, but I do know that NOW is the time to grow in this area. I recently turned the big 30 and I told myself I will not go into my 30s making Ghent same 20-something year old’s mistakes. In the process of “fixing me,” I’ve noticed some of those same negative traits in others I encountered.
Lately, I’ve become more aware of people who tend to blame others for their current circumstances and not take responsibility for their own actions. I work at a financial institution, and at least 5 times each day, I receive calls from customers requesting NSF fee waivers due to their own financial negligence. Most conversations with customers begin with “I do not understand why YOU are charging me $35 for a $5 mistake, YOU banks are always trying to get over on us consumers.” I see accounts where people claim to not be able to afford anything, but they frequent Starbucks, steakhouses, and the mall multiple times a week. The bank statements don’t lie. The money is there, it’s just poorly budgeted, which is evident by the frequency of negative activity that occurs in their accounts. The blame is thrown on the bank because of a fee, but there is no accountability on their behalf. After 10 minutes of listening to them complain, as well me researching the account for additional fee waivers and recent similar calls and seeing their history of $35 fee charges, my mind is already made up that I won’t refund any fees…but I do advise that I can send them a transaction register in an attempt to help them budget their funds. LOL Sounds a little petty I know, but sometimes, people need to hear the truth.
On the other hand, there are some customers who are well aware of our policy, which they AGREED to upon signing up for the account. When they call because of a $2 mistake that cost them $35 in NSF fees, their narrative is quite the opposite. The customers who tend to take responsibility, call knowing a mistake was made on their part but understand that “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed” and just wants to see if we will waive it. Even if their fee waiver request is denied, these customers try their best to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again, evident by their account histories. These customers are humble, acknowledge their wrongs, and get straight to the point with what they are requesting. A lot of times, when I check the history of these types of people’s accounts, they are pretty good at staying positive in their account. Even if they have received fees in the past, their calls to request courtesy waivers are a rare occasion, and when they do call, I usually oblige.
I stated all of the above to say this, taking responsibility for your actions and acknowledging your wrongs is a sign of maturity. A lot of times, we can’t move forward in our lives because we are too busy blaming others for our issues instead of acknowledging our hands in a matter. Things such as unforgiveness, harboring hate, not letting go, unaddressed feelings of inadequacy, and not accepting the fact we might, in fact, be lazy (just to name a few) keep us bound. We have to start taking responsibility for these actions that are rooted in ill-feelings.
At some points in our lives, others might have truly wronged us, but how we react to those past situations is what determines where we currently are as well and will be in our futures. Similar to the first set of people above, I used to be the person who received excessive NSF fees in my early twenties, and it was always someone else’s fault. “If only I had more money or a better paying job, I wouldn’t have to worry about these fees.” “Why do banks charge fees anyway? Don’t they make enough money off people paying interest.” And in all the finger pointing, it took me paying over an estimated $3000 in overdraft fees and a disgust with being “broke & busted” to finally see that I was the problem. I did not want to accept that fact that my overspending on things I did not need, fast food indulgences, and desire to “ball out” was why I was in the financial mess I was in. This not only applies to money but pretty much everything else in life, including relationships. I let past situations, one-time situations, and DEAD situations dictate how I treated people in my life. Yes, I was treated poorly, back-stabbed, and disrespected, but instead of learning from those situations, loving myself, and becoming a better me, I grew bitter and decided to treat people who did me no harm, the way I was treated. Yes, I experienced real pain, but my negative reaction to that pain is what caused me to continue to relive those painful moments. I never took ownership of my feelings and addressed them, sought counseling for them, or moved forward from the past hurt.
I just want to encourage anyone who comes across this post to think about your feelings and actions in your daily life. Are you taking responsibility and ownership for your life, or are you allowing outside situations to run you? Do you address situations head-on, or run away and feel as if things will never get better? I do not claim to have all the answers, I’m not Sway, LOL:), but I share things based on my own personal experiences. I have been on both ends of the spectrum, taking the time to breathe deeply and say to myself “put on them big girl panties and let’s own up to this” has definitely brought a lot more calm & peace into my life. I honestly believe if you struggle with this, it can truly do the same for you.