Jessica Soroky Guest Post #11: Self-Applying Responsibility Isn’t Always Pretty

“When you judge yourself and don’t like what you see, you treat those closest to you like crap.”

This isn’t a quote from a celebrity, or one of those profound one-liners on a poster. It came out of the mouth of someone I hold in high regard, and it shook me to my core. This blog post doesn’t have a happy ending yet, or a revelation at the end — it’s just an honest and raw look at a problem I’m still processing.

As I study The Responsibility Process™ and take a deeper look at myself, owning my personal power, I keep getting smacked in the face with, “It’s a thousand times easier to see something in everyone else than it is to identify it in yourself.”

When I take a second, clearer look at last week’s blog post, Congratulations Instead of Judgment or Advice, I see that I wrote about the behaviors I noticed in others. That blog post is all about how I was the effect of their catalyst through the word “Congratulations.” I was still not being the cause of my own mental state, but it was progress.

It was easy to write about how others default to judging, evaluating, and giving advice, and how a word they used helped me cope with the fear of judgment and evaluation. What was harder was to realize later I could identify it so easily because it’s what I dislike most about my own behaviors.

I judge. I evaluate. And worst of all, I do it the most to myself.

Then I seek external validation based solely on the judgments of others.

The constant self-judgment, evaluation, and desire for external validation is a problem for me — it knocks me out of alignment too often and results in highly emotional and irrational responses. I’m bringing this up here because I believe a problem cannot survive exposure.

When I began introspecting, I fell back on questions to seek clarity. Why did I do this to myself? What did I get out of it? The answer: I judge myself because over the years I have created the belief that if I judge myself first and change direction, then I can protect myself from anyone else judging me. As I type this I know it’s not logical, I can see the justification and shame in the words I write on this page, but I have not yet figured out how to get unstuck and move above the line.

The quote at the beginning of this post came from a conversation I began in an effort to seek help getting to responsibility. I started the conversation and opened the door for feedback but instantly got defensive and angry. My emotions made absolute sense at the time, but the minute I didn’t like what I was hearing, my brain denied it and it came out in unkind comments and by treating those who care about me terribly.

In the midst of what I viewed as an argument at the time, he calmly but sternly said, “When you judge yourself and don’t like what you see, you treat those closest to you like crap.”

What I saw to be an insult at first was truly an awakening and a chance for growth. It has been weeks since that comment, but it has lived in my head. He was right. The anger and denial I had has been coming out against those around me.

The feedback they were giving me I knew to be true about myself, and when faced with no option but to look at myself, I finally had to admit that I didn’t like what I saw.

I’m full of judgment and evaluation, and a belief that external validation is necessary for my own happiness.

In moments of clarity and peace I’m proud of who I am and happy with the journey I’m on. I am confident and strong. But in moments of helplessness and anxiety, I fall back on my defaults and defense mechanisms.

I don’t have a big realization to share yet, other than some problems take longer to work through than others. I’m struggling with this and it’s coming out in my body language, my vocabulary, my work, and last week in my blog post.

Now that I’m aware of what the problem is, I intend to keep self-applying no matter how ugly it gets until I’m able to let go of the problem only I have created.

Jessica Soroky, CSM Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Leadership, Responsibility on 11/20/2013 02:04 am
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