What Does “Own It” Really Mean?



I’m certain every individual has pondered the following question at least once in their life: “what does it meant to be a good person?”  After all, we all want to lie in on our bed and know that despite the struggles in our lives, we acted in a righteous manner.  Thus it is no surprise that musician Noah Gundersen has taken a stab at this question as well.  At a concert, while getting his guitar retuned, Gundersen was sharing his struggle with such a question.

“I won’t tell you that I’ve figured it out yet, but I think a big part of it, according to a lot of people that I trust, is to own the decisions you make.  Not necessarily be proud of them, but to accept them and to not run from them.”

I find that fascinating.  I think our culture understands the idea of owning the decisions we make… or at least I think we do.  After all, I hear the phrase “own it” all the time.  Whenever an individual lacks confidence, there is almost always a friend or colleague that tries to offer support by saying something to the effect of “own it.”  The same applies to when an individual is surrounded by people who don’t understand them.

“Own it.”

 But often, a call to “own it” holds the idea that we are who we are; we should take pride in all aspects of our personality—faults and all.  But that’s when things go awry.  When people recognise their faults but take pride in it nonetheless—when people blatantly blur the lines of black and white so that they may stand on their two feet—pride takes over reason.  Pride takes over everything. (Do note: blurring the lines is not the same as identifying the blurred lines)

 Pride is not the cure to self-inadequacy.  As Gundersen points out, pride is not the path to being a good individual.  Rather it is not running from your mistakes, but accepting them for what they are, and working with them from there to be a better person.

 It should be noted that acceptance is not the same as recognition.  I can recognize my faults.  I can list every mistake I have made in my life.  I can torment myself constantly by visualizing the errors I have committed.  But to accept is active.  Acceptance is kneeling before one’s faults and bearing the consequences of their actions.  Only then can they truly stand on their two legs firmly.

 Need better visuals?  Watch the Lion King—seriously.  After Simba talks to his father in the clouds, Rafiki has a peculiar dialogue with the rightful king.

Simba: Looks like the winds are changing.
Rafiki: Ahhh.  Change is good.
Simba: Yeah, but it’s not easy.  I know what I have to do.  But, going back means I’ll have to face my past.  I’ve been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki whacks Simba on the head with his staff]
Simba: Oww! Jeez!  What was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter—it’s in the past! [laughs]
Simba: [Rubbing head] Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt.  But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.

For the first time in a while, Simba took ownership of who he is.  He didn’t do it in a prideful manner.  He didn’t sugarcoat his personality.  Rather, Simba accepted his faults, learned from them, and recognized who he truly is.  While I’ve never seen The Lion King 2, from what the ending of the first movie,

“I want to learn how to love
Not just the feeling
Bear all the consequences
I want to learn how to love
And give it all back
Forgiving all that I’ve done”
—Noah Gundesen—“Ledges”

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon's Posts


  1. WoW!!! Awesome “Hats off”

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