Self-Resposibiliy: Owning Your Experience

circling communication Aug 01, 2023

There is a turning point in our lives where we stop blaming our circumstances, our parents, our ex or the alignment of the planets for how we are feeling, and start to own what we are experiencing instead.

In Circling, we call this Owning Our Experience, and it is one of the Five Principles that give Circling its structure. It is an invitation to become more intimate with ourselves (not to turn up the dial on harsh self-criticism). When we embrace it, it has the power to deeply transform our ability to relate cleanly with others, allowing deeper connection and richer, authentic communication. When we embrace this principle as leaders, it encourages others to take more responsibility too and cultivates a healthy team culture. 

What is meant by Owning our Experience?

Owning our experience comes from our capacity to be present and often to sit with stresses that feel uncomfortable, taking the time to allow us to discern what our authentic response is. Part of the vulnerability in this comes from the thought that sitting in tension like this is not good and the urge to escape it as quickly as possible can be strong.

When are able to remain present and sit in this discomfort, we have the opportunity for deeper meeting with ourselves and deeper communication with the other to take place.

Examples of Owning your Experience

Less owned 

You’re invading my space and you need to get back!

More owned

I notice I’m wanting more space between us right now.

Less owned

You’re speaking too fast, you need to slow down

More owned

I want to go really slow right now because I want to be really truthful with you

Less owned

What you’re saying is stupid and you’re making me so angry

More owned

I’m feeling resistance to what you’re saying and I want to stand for what’s important for me 

The Clean Impact of Ownership

When we truly own our experiences, the impact on those around us becomes cleaner and more profound. By refraining from external assessments and avoiding the blame game, we create a space for genuine depth. Owning our experiences means taking responsibility for what happens within ourselves, fostering an environment where others are inspired to do the same.

The Vulnerability of Authentic Ownership

True ownership requires vulnerability, especially when faced with unpleasant or unwanted thoughts. Consider a scenario where a friend expresses anger towards you. The knee-jerk reaction might involve defensiveness and judgement. However, true ownership involves delving deeper into your own emotional landscape, acknowledging the lack of a strong emotional response and instead recognising a contraction within. Sharing this vulnerability opens a space for the other person to reflect on their emotions and perceptions, fostering a deeper connection.

Freedom from Outcome Attachment

Ownership thrives when detached from specific outcomes. Clinging to preconceived expectations often leads to pain when reality diverges from the planned script. By releasing attachment to particular results, we liberate ourselves to authentically own the unfolding experience, whatever it may be.

Inward Discernment in the Moment

Another crucial aspect of ownership is the ability to feel inwardly in the present moment. It requires discernment and practice to uncover the genuine feelings that may not surface immediately. Acknowledging uncertainty and expressing the need for time to explore one's emotions is a powerful leadership move, creating a space for thoughtful communication and understanding.

Surrendering to the Truth of the Moment

Owning Your Experience demands a surrender to the truth of the moment. It challenges habitual ways of thinking and transcends preconceived notions about what should or should not happen. In this surrender, a more profound sense of responsibility, purpose, and integrity unfolds, reshaping the narrative of leadership.

Owning Your Experience is synonymous with a 100% responsibility for everything that you are experiencing, recognising the 'perfection' within each moment, including one's authentic responses. 

It is a journey of self-discovery, leadership refinement, and a gateway to a more profound sense of purpose and authenticity. Embracing this principle becomes not just a choice but a transformative act that resonates in the spaces we lead and the connections we foster. 

Curious to try Circling? Join for a live experience online or in person. Download our FREE Introduction to Circling Course