In some of my previous blogs, I have talked about how important it is to take ownership of your problems. Taking ownership of your problems was one of the things I learnt from my final year at university, and it has also helped me with my mental health recently. We all have and will continue to face problems, that’s part of life. But it’s how we deal with these problems that is important, and can determine whether we meet our goals and targets we set ourselves. I want to therefore use this blog post to discuss why it’s important to take responsibility for our problems and talk about things that have helped me. I want to note that I am no expert in this topic, and that everyone’s situation is different. Furthermore, different people define the term problem in different ways. Therefore, what I say may not fully relate to your situation, and I understand that.
Taking responsibility for your problems is important for several reasons. I think the main reason why it’s important is that at the end of day only we have the power to make a situation better when problems arise. Although we can use other people to help us, expecting someone else to solve our problem will only lead to disappointment. Another reason why taking ownership of your own problems is important is that it helps you in the long run. When I started taking full responsibility for my own problems, I found that I further developed skills such as resilience and problem solving. You automatically develop many skills when taking ownership of your problems, which will help you when it comes to dealing future problems and challenges. Furthermore, the satisfaction you get after taking the ownership to overcome a problem is amazing!
In reality, taking ownership of your problems is very difficult for many reasons. It can be hard to identify that a problem exists in the first place, because the signs are not usually obvious and can be quite subtle in many cases. However, even when we take the first step in identifying the problem, taking the responsibility to solve it is very challenging. I have found that when a problem arises, a lot of time and energy is spent either denying the problem exists, making excuses or feeling sorry for ourselves, which could have been spent in being proactive in tackling the problem head on. This obviously isn’t done on purpose, but it is easy to fall in the trap of doing. An example that illustrates this is when I have been in toxic friendships in the past. I spent a lot of time denying the fact that the friendship wasn’t good for me, and I often made excuses for their behaviour. Looking back, I realised that this was because I was trying to avoid and run away from the problem, as I felt that pushing away the problem would be easier. However, things would have ended up better if I took the responsibility to do something about it early on.
A good example that shows me taking ownership of my problems effectively is dealing with my anxiety and mental health issues recently. Before, I would spend too much time feeling sorry for myself and having a negative mindset towards life. I also spent too much ranting to other people about my problems. The reality was that I didn’t do anywhere near as enough try and make things better. I eventually realised that I was the only one with the power to do something about my situation, and that I had to take a high level of responsibility when it came to tackling my mental health issues. Now I tackle the problem head on whenever I feel low mental health wise, and spend time in finding ways to overcome these low moments rather then feeling sorry for myself. This has led to my mental health generally improving recently, and although I am not immune to having anxiety or low mental health, I am much more confident in my ability to deal with it.
One tip I would give when it comes to taking ownership of your problems is to take time to think things through when problems arise. Often, problems aren’t dealt with well because people rush things and try and find a solution quickly, and this is easy to do when a problem seems big or urgent. However, in most cases it is worth taking the time to actually be clear on what the problem is and evaluate it before going about solving it. This is why reflecting on things is so powerful. When reflecting upon things, you may find that the actual issue is different to what you first thought or that the problem is not as bad as first feared. I also want to say here that it is a good idea to talk to other people when it comes to thinking the problem through and getting their views, as long as you are aware that you are ultimately responsible for tackling the problem.
Have there been any recent examples where you have taken ownership of a problem? What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to taking ownership of a problem?