Her husband won’t apologize for cheating on her — twice now. Says everything’s her fault. For working too late. Making him lonely at night. Not taking care of her skin. Gaining too much weight, then losing too much. Throwing away his drugs. What a monster.
Poor guy. Driven into an affair by his abusive wife, who doesn’t even have the decency to look like a supermodel.
The strangest part? He refuses to talk about divorce.
He just wants to keep cheating on his wife, and making her feel bad about it. This situation doesn’t bother him at all. I guess he’s getting everything he wants, so screw her.
Now here’s a perfect example of someone who doesn’t own his shit. Although I don’t think he really deserves happiness, he’s got to be better off alone than constantly justifying his actions. And yet, that’s part of his denial. He thinks he still loves her. He has to believe so. Otherwise, he’d have to confront what a terrible human he is. Of course, he doesn’t have to stay like that. But he probably will. And it will consume him from the inside out.
A lot of people don’t own their shit.
We see these types everywhere. They’d rather stay miserable than admit they might’ve done something wrong.
You — the person sitting here right now— probably haven’t done something that crass. Good. It means something. Maybe you’re already owning your shit. If so, keep doing that. It keeps you sane.
We’re all going to screw up at some point. Cheat on someone we love. Lose a bunch of money. Say something we wish we could erase. But you can get through just about anything, as long as you own your shit. Running from your mistakes, refusing to admit them, that’s the best way to wind up unhinged and alone. But there’s good news. Owning your shit isn’t as hard as you might think. You just have to want to.
You don’t have to accept apologies.
Maybe you can’t even look at the person who hurt you. It’s okay, apologies are overrated anyway. You don’t always have to give one.
A half-assed apology is easy, btw. Just say something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “I’m sorry that happened.”
Those apologies aren’t worth the sound waves they ride to your ear. Return to sender. Insufficient postage.
An apology gives no guarantee that someone actually realizes what they’ve done, or the impact it has on anyone. They think the words entitle them to some form of forgiveness.
You don’t have to give apologies.
Maybe someone demands an apology from you. But you refuse. They don’t deserve one in your mind, even if you realize you screwed up. It’s possible they screwed up, too, even worse than you did.
Or maybe you’re worried about making yourself liable. Hey, everyone has foes. They might turn an apology against you.
And yet, nobody makes us do anything. We decide to bring a gun to a knife fight. Retaliate against someone we think deserved it. You can acknowledge a bad decision without apologizing to someone.
Give it a shot. Just owning a bad decision, even privately, balances your brain cells. We’re all talented at self-justification and denial. But tricking yourself into justice doesn’t do you any good long term. You’ll just do something even more brazen next time.
You just have to see your mistakes.
It takes a lot of brain power to constantly delude yourself. A person who never admits a mistake can’t think clearly. They’re too busy lying to themselves. They’re bound to repeat the same poor decisions.
They’ll keep hurting anyone who lets them.
And they’ll continue hurting themselves. Someone who can’t admit their bad decisions never gives themselves a chance to do things differently. They’re blinding themselves to cause and effect.
They’ve broken the laws of logic. When they do that, their minds won’t work anymore. They were right. So everything they did was right. Which means the behavior doesn’t change. No matter how shitty their lives get.
You can interrogate yourself.
Owning your shit allows you to ask smart questions about your choices. Sometimes we simply didn’t anticipate the outcome. We did something we thought was okay, then found out otherwise. Other times, we knew what we were doing, but couldn’t quell a temptation.
Or we fell into the “just this once” trap.
We can’t just apologize and hope we don’t do that stupid thing again. Likewise, we can’t just hope someone who screwed us over actually means their apology. We have to interrogate.
We have to understand what made us think it was okay in the first place. Or what caused us to disregard our judgment. We have to articulate all that somehow, if we stand a chance at redemption.
All kinds of strange logic can surface from a good self-interrogation. Unhealthy thought processes. Toxic ideologies. Things we have to expose in order to root out.
And if someone you know won’t account for their bad decisions, maybe you don’t need them in your life.
You can’t always beg forgiveness.
You can rebound from almost any bad call. That doesn’t mean your spouse will forgive you. Or your kids. It doesn’t guarantee the perfect apology will save you from getting fired.
Sometimes you just have to let your bad decision play out on its own. Let the fallout wash over you.
If you think you did the right thing, it still might bring painful aftermath. Taking it with grace always beats thrashing and squirming. People who own their shit don’t spend a lot of time crying about fairness or right and wrong. They make the best choices they can, and deal with the spray back— even if it gets them dirty as hell.