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Monday Moment: When you let yourself down

Emma Grey

After dragging my 5-year-old through yesterday’s Mother’s Day Classic for 5km (4km of which were pure whinging), I told him how proud I was that he made it, and asked if he was proud of himself too.

“No,” he said. “I’m disappointed in myself, because I let myself down by saying I would do something that I didn’t want to do and it was a huge marathon and I’m never going there again.”

Okaaaay, then.

It reminded me of the time I dragged his sister around the same event, also whinging, only to discover when we got home that she had a 40-degree fever, poor kid!

The point is Seb vocalised his annoyance in a way that lots of us fail to do as adults. He didn’t blame the rain. He didn’t blame me. He knew he’d had the choice to stay at home with his dad, and he knew it would be a long way. But he took 100% ownership for the situation he was in when he found he didn’t like it.

When we find ourselves doing things we don’t want to do…

  • Staying back late helping someone with their work because they were disorganised
  • Being on a Committee because we couldn’t say ‘no’
  • Staying in a job or in a relationship that isn’t working because other people expect it of us

… Rarely do we say, “I’m disappointed in myself, because I let myself down by saying I would do something I didn’t want to do…” Yet that’s exactly what has happened.

Taking ownership of the situation can shape our lives, one ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at a time. It puts the ball squarely in our own court, and give us back the power we pretend to have lost when we whinge about everything and everyone else—anything other than accept responsibility ourselves.

The first step to changing our situation is owning it. It’s amazing how many choices we have when we get in the driver’s seat.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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