“I know you want everybody and everything else to change. Your mother, father, boss, friend, sister, lover, landlord, neighbor, minister, or government official must change so that your life can be perfect. It doesn’t work that way. If you want change in your life, then you are the one who must do the changing.” -Louise Hay
When I first read this quote I thought, “But sometimes, others do have to change because I know for sure I haven’t done anything wrong.” After I thought about it, changing doesn’t always mean that you did something wrong or that you necessarily have to change who you are. It can mean that you are allowing certain things to happen and those things are having a negative impact on your quality of life experiences. So, even changing what you are willing to tolerate is a change on your part.
If you are considering making changes in your life, are you looking for others to also make adjustments in order for things to get better?
I’m personally experiencing some change right now: I recently let go of my locs of 15 years and am now adjusting to having short, natural hair. I’m also moving out of my house of 12 years for numerous reasons and to create a more balanced co-parenting relationship in terms of sharing responsibilities.
Change isn’t always easy to accept, and it’s mainly because we are holding on to expectations we have of others and situations. Instead of accepting what is, we resist and that’s when it’s challenging to deal with things. However, it’s also an opportunity for you to shift your perspective and make a more conscious decision on how to respond and not just react.
In the midst of working through all of these changes my mentor, friend and fellow coach pointed out a theme she felt was emerging. She said, “I really think your theme for the new year is ownership.”
It was showing up in some of my choices but it also needed to be developed in other areas. I was curious to learn more about what it means to truly embody “self-ownership” because I wanted to create better experiences – including my relationships. I explored this concept more and I believe you can also benefit from what I discovered.
Let’s start with breaking down what it really means to express self-ownership.
Self ownership means just one thing, that YOU are the owner of your life – your body, your mind, your energy, and any consequent result of your life’s efforts.
You have to take full responsibility for your experiences instead of giving that power over to anyone else. In the same breath, you also have to recognize that everyone else has the same right to self-ownership.
When you can acknowledge well founded ownership in unpleasant situations, you are better prepared to make the necessary changes to resolve things, even if it starts with you. When you are unable to own your stuff, you will remain a victim of your circumstances.
When thinking of self-ownership in regard to relationships, we tend to put certain responsibilities on those we are involved with. We frequently allow others to be responsible for our happiness, sense of security and for feeling loved (to mention a few). I can admit to being that person in past relationships. However, I was able to develop mental and emotional strategies that are in alignment with taking ownership of my experiences.
Now, there are several elements connected to self-ownership (but not limited to):
Independent thinking: Give yourself permission to question what doesn’t feel good despite what the person involved or the masses may think about it. Always ask questions in order to seek understanding of self and the situation. There may be times when you have to make choices true to you even in the face of external pressure.
Personal responsibility: You have to be able to acknowledge and accept the choices you have made, the actions you have taken, and the results they have led to. Basically own the role you’ve played, even if the situation didn’t turn out the way you expected it.
Emotional management: It’s very important to be able to have the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. When you are capable of recognizing your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, you can use this understanding to relate better to other people and form healthier relationships. Our emotions are very valuable to us. Once you can identify the emotion and its message, the last step is to take action.
I have a quick resource that will help you develop your Emotional Intelligence.
Click here to get immediate access to a cheat sheet to mastering your emotions.
Frame of reference: Our frame of reference speaks to patterns of assumption and ways of thinking or feeling about someone or something. Understanding your frame of reference is a practical approach to removing mental barriers, because your frame of reference directly impacts your thought process, and ultimately your actions. Frame of reference is influenced by childhood experiences, shadow beliefs (beliefs you don’t even realize affect your actions), cultural values, traumatic experiences, etc.
You have to examine your frame of reference around your relationships, and then determine whether your outlook is either hurting you by keeping you stuck or motivating you to make changes for the better.
This is when you would put “reframing” into practice. Reframing means changing your interpretation or changing your point of view. You basically put a new frame around your situation to change the way you look at it. As a result it changes the meaning for you. Think of it like this: you are taking a picture out of one frame and putting it into another. In your mind, the color, shape, size of the frame doesn’t make the picture look good, so putting the picture in another frame makes it look better.
Exercise your personal power in changing any situation that doesn’t feel good to you by affirming self-ownership.
Have you resisted and felt out of control when a relationship or situation was on the verge of changing?
If so, I have a quick self-awareness exercise for you:
Take out a piece of paper and write down one challenging experience/relationship (personal or professional) you’d like to take self-ownership of in your life.
If you haven’t made any changes yet there must be a barrier preventing you from taking steps.
Knowing that no one will see this write down what that barrier is.
Now, how can you apply independent thinking, personal responsibility, emotional management or reframing to your situation?
Doing this exercise is a step towards taking ownership that is independent of others. Whether it be doing this writing exercise, changing a negative behavior pattern, creating boundaries, or not tolerating less than you deserve. This is what self-ownership is about – taking action to create change that’s independent of others.
Don’t deny the value of your own power. You are free to guide yourself.
About the Contributor:
Monique Allison is a Relationship Clarity Coach. Her personal experience, observation, and insight gained over the years allows her to help women release unhealthy relationships and heal from broken ones in order to love again from a more self-loving and authentic space. She is also the mother of 10-year-old son, Pharaoh. Monique’s background/experience is in the nonprofit sector working for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA) for 13 years; holding the position as the Quality Assurance Manager. She has achieved a B.A. in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, is AIRS Certified as an Information & Referral Specialist, attained a Creative Writer Certificate from Kennesaw State University. Monique has also taught life skills to young adults for two years. Learn more about Monique’s work helping women build healthy relationships HERE.