Figuring out where your responsibility lies is the secret sauce to resolution.
In typical conflict situations, two or more people have responsibility for the problem.
I am responsible for myself — for my thoughts, feelings, limits, talents, and behaviors.
When looking at problem-solving, I need to ask myself the hard questions: What is my contribution? How do I feel? Did I say yes when I needed to say no? Did I make assumptions or ask questions?
I have to own my instrument and play it.
I am not responsible for others — for their thoughts, feelings, limits, talents, and behaviors.
I cannot make someone think, believe, feel, or do anything. I am responsible to them. I can only communicate with them my experience and ask for what I want clearly.
I cannot be the other person. I cannot play their instruments for them.
I know, I know! It’s hard! It’s hard because we care about people. It’s so very tempting to want short-term mercy. I don’t want them to feel bad. I don’t want them to suffer. So I take their responsibility.
But that short-term mercy means the other person doesn’t have to own their responsibility, thwarting their growth and freedom.
While intended in love, these misguided attempts prevent true reconciliation.
Reconciliation takes two people. Two people must work together to communicate, own their individual responsibilities, and make adjustments moving forward.
You can’t play all the parts in solving a problem. Life isn’t a one-man band.