Take Back Your Life!

Own Up To It

May 10, 2011 by Giulietta Nardone

Somewhere along the childhood line I started to lie when confronted about “doing” something. I believe it stemmed from being punished when I admitted to fairly minor household transgressions like eating the cake or tracking mud into the house. Like any kid I started to put two and two together and realized I came up with punishment 10. Unfortunately, this behavior followed me into life beyond childhood.

You see it in the news all the time, instead of saying, “Yes, I did this,” the famous figure flatly denies it then months or even years later the truth comes out and the person-in-question gets a far worse public whopping than if they had just came out and said, “I did it.” It seems rare for anyone to state the truth. David Letterman comes to mind as someone who had the courage to say, “I did it. I’m sorry. How can we move on?”

We’re all human. Yet, we spend a lot of time beating each other up for acting human — and it seems to be getting worse with the 24/7 media. The judgmental attitudes come flying out of the human woodwork, when it reality some of the time the judges have done the very same thing. Hypocrisy can be a far greater problem than the original transgression. Often, I’ve seen some member of the government rail against someone only to find out they were secretly doing the same thing.

It may be that what we dislike most about ourselves hits a guilty nerve when we see it reflected in someone else.

I’ve found in the past few years that it’s easier to say, “I did it.” Once you do that, the person accusing you has no power over you. You don’t have to worry about your “secret” coming out because it’s already out.

For example, recently I attended a meeting where I suggested we do x and folks jumped all over me because it violated some real estate dictate that I didn’t know existed because it seemed nonsensical. Instead of turning red and feeling like a bad person. I said, “Oops and made light of it.” It disarmed the situation for me in a big way. If I’d tried to defend it, the situation just would have spiraled downward.

This is an issue I’ve historically had a tough time with and know others do, too.

Here’s my own little hint when others try and make you feel stupid or bad — take a breath and see where you can own up to whatever it is. You’ll feel more powerful and sleep easier.

Muse thx, Giulietta

p.s. My FUN and LIBERATING juicy life/writing adventure at Story Circle On-line starts on Monday. There’s still time to join us. We’re going to unleash our alive sides and write prose reflecting that. For folks who want to begin or continue taking back their lives. Please click JUICY to get more info… You’ll have a lot of access to me over the four weeks. It’s a great way to improve your writing and hang out with a muse!

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21 responses to “Own Up To It”

  1. Have you had situations where you owned up to “it” and felt more powerful? G.

  2. Lance says:

    This is such a great point, because I know that I’ve went both ways on this. When I try to defend something that’s off base (or just deny it), at best this just doesn’t feel good (and at worst…it comes full circle).

    More recently I have really been focused on making life more enjoyable (not that it wasn’t before…). And humor (and seeing the lighter side) are always a great way to cut the tension or diffuse a moment.

    Today, I’m again reminded of that as I read your words. And my goal is to do this even more…as I continue to have fun with life.
    Lance recently posted..Love- Where Does It Start

    • Hi Lance,

      Congrats on making life even more enjoyable. It can’t ever be too enjoyable.

      How did suffering become the adulthood norm? Let’s make the norm having a good time. I’m so with you on that.

      We all need more humor! It’s so undervalued. If we all laughed more, there would probably be way less worldwide conflict. Maybe the source of the angst is just that — a lack of humor.

      You reminded me that for my HS yearbook blurb I wrote, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” (Victor Borge.

      Thanks for the juicy comment! G.

      • Lance says:

        I *love* that Victor Borge quote!!

        So let’s work (or maybe the “right” word is play!) toward being rays of sunshine!! (you ARE!!!) And maybe, just maybe that will reach out and give someone else more hope in a life that is not about suffering and instead about joy and love…

        Giggles and love,
        Lance recently posted..Love- Where Does It Start

  3. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Giulietta — thanks for this — it’s so liberating for me when I can let go of the need to “win” or be “morally superior” around a conflict that happens about something I did, and instead just acknowledge and explore how I feel and how the other person feels.

    • Hey Chris,

      Appreciate you stopping in. Getting over the need to win is quite a feat! Congrats on letting go enough to do that. We’re all groomed to win at most any cost, when half the time we don’t even know what we’re really winning (or losing by winning) anyway. Thx, G.

  4. Great post, Giulietta. I agree with Chris – “liberating.” I would also add “refreshing.”

    Right now I can’t think of an example where I owned up, but here’s a somewhat related story.

    I try not to rub it in when someone else owns up or when it turns out I was right about something. An example from today: My husband received an invitation to an open house that he was going to decline bcuz of the cost of gas to do the trip. I also felt he was viewing the opportunity in a limited way. I urgently described other aspects of it that were possible, plus the kind of potential that cannot be predicted. I urged him to fill the gas tank and go (we could really use some income magic right now) and he listened to my advice.

    I just received a text from B. at the open house saying he received a handsome order, plus there are other reasons he’s glad he attended that he said he’ll fill me in on later. When I replied, I deleted my initial self-congratulatory comment and gave him all the credit and thanks. I realized I didn’t need to be right – this was teamwork. :~)
    Milliver’s Travels recently posted..You can fall in love with Taormina in less than a day

  5. Giulietta,
    I love this. I have done the same thing in the past. My mother was really into punishing us so I thought it was just easier to deny than take her punishment. As an adult I do own up to things – even with my mother now. It is very liberating to be able to say, “I made a mistake.” When you think about – so what? Everybody makes mistakes – end of story let’s move on. If we all could react like this so many situations could be made more pleasant in our lives.
    Angela Artemis recently posted..Why Intuition and Uncertainty Do Not Mix

    • Hi Angela,

      Sometimes I think we have the same mother! Learning to speak up to our parents sets the stage for all other speak-ups. (I wrote a short essay on this that needs a home.)

      I agree it’s liberating to say, “I made a mistake.” You’re onto something when you say it would make so many situations more pleasant. When I think back to some of the more fearful episodes in my life many revolved around me not being able to say that.

      You’re so right that it ought to be a “so what?” and let’s move on.

      Thanks for your always lively comments! G.

  6. Evelyn Lim says:

    I have realized how powerful it is to say “I don’t know”. I also acknowledge to my kids when I have made a mistake and asked for their forgiveness. If I want them to own up to things, I need to be a good model myself.

    Love your post, authenticity and sharing! I hope to move on to reading your other posts.

    With love,
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Self Love Series- 101 Loving Yourself Quotes

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Great to have you here. I’m with you on the power of saying, “I don’t know.” It feels really good to toss the weight of the world off our shoulders like that.

      Frankly, none of us know why we’re even on the planet, so our obsession with having the right answers for everything almost seems silly. I just read yesterday that there’s always more than one answer and we’d be better off encouraging kids of all ages to find as many right answers as they can. (bag the tests … they set kids up for a life of having to be right or else.)

      What a terrific mother to admit to your children that you made a mistake. A lot of parents don’t consider their own behavior when they say things to their children.

      Thank you! G.

  7. J.D. Meier says:

    > You’ll feel more powerful and sleep easier.
    So true, and those are some compelling benefits.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Pursuit- Passion- and Perils- The Story of One Young Entrepreneur

  8. Giulietta: Great post. So true and thanks for what is definitely great advice. Honesty really always is the best policy.
    Sibyl – alternaview recently posted..10 Things We Know But Need to Always Keep Top of Mind

  9. Penelope J. says:

    Hi Giulietta, Your post makes me wonder how many kids were/are like you. I tried lying a few times but since I could never get away with it, I gave up. It showed on my face, in my voice. When my son was small, I punished him for lying but to my horror, he grew up to be a compulsive liar, one who does not recognize it. However, he is not alone. Frankly, I see more of this – as well as what you mentioned, hypocrisy – in high places whereas honesty seems relegated to the underdogs.
    I came to the U.S. from Mexico with the idea inculcated in me from my American mother and grandfather that this was the most honest country in the world. What a shock to find that people and politicians here also told lies. For every one caught, there must be 10, or maybe 100, who are not.
    It’s not always easy to own up to having done wrong things or making poor decisions, or just not knowing, but it may make people trust you more. You mentioned David Letterman and I can think of others who, like him, when confronted, owned up to their mistake and were respected rather than vilified for having done so.

    • Hi Penelope,

      I’m not sure if lying is a worldwide problem, inherent in the human psyche or if it’s worse here. In a competitive atmosphere, it probably occurs more often because of the win-lose model.

      I win if you lose rather than we both try to win. Also, there’s a ton of pressure to be seen as “making it.” People feel the need to exaggerate.

      Children would be less likely to fib if the punishment for making a mistake were not seen to be so disastrous.

      Thanks! G.

  10. Anytime I feel myself stressing over something I’ve done that I wished I hadn’t done or saying something I wished I hadn’t have said… it’s so freeing to own it. Taking responsibility is so much more empowering than hiding.
    Angie Mizzell recently posted..In the bag

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