It’s interesting that we live in a society that is preoccupied with fault, blame and deferral of responsibility. Then when people seem to be stuck, they don’t understand why.
Here’s the thing:
Nothing is going to change until you DECIDE.
And within that decision to make choices to change your reality, lies a pivotal piece of the puzzle: “responsibility”.
So if you are stuck in your story, comfortable playing the victim or ready to blame the rest of the world for your life…
…how’s that workin’ for ya?
My life was transformed when I ended the blame game. When I shifted my mindset from victim to being fully responsible for everything that I was creating in my life, my sense of empowerment skyrocketed.
My happiness factor tripled.
And just to clarify…I’m not talking about fault: It’s not your fault that you have trauma or were neglected or had a broken family or that there was abuse in your history…or whatever has happened to you.
But you are 100% responsible for healing and growing from those events.
You’re responsible for every choice you’ve made…
- to hold onto beliefs that don’t serve you
- to avoid forgiveness
- to cultivate anger
- to foster resentment
- to allow it to define who you are
…and these choices have placed you exactly where you are.
(Watch the video rendering of this concept here)
Personal responsibility isn’t really a topic we hear much about. We read about the value of self-forgiveness, self-compassion, and self-empathy, but we rarely read about self-responsibility.
These concepts of accountability or personal responsibility may seem unglamorous however they are extremely vital companions on your journey of self-development.
When we lack personal responsibility, we lack the ability to truly move forward with our lives. We become permanently stuck in poisonous patterns of self-victimization. However, when we become accountable for our thoughts, feelings, and choices, we regain power over our lives.
Similarly, sometimes we try to take responsibility for other people and their happiness. This eventually drains us of the life and vitality in our lives.
What Are We Responsible For?
Responsibility means different things to different people depending on their circumstances.
What you are NOT responsible for:
- Someone else’s feelings
- Someone else’s happiness
What you ARE responsible for:
- Holding onto the pain of what happened to you
- Refusing to forgive
- Cultivating anger
- Fostering resentment
- Allowing negative experiences to define who you are
- Every choice you make
- Your reality
Taking responsibility for your own emotions, feelings, thoughts and perspectives is the single greatest factor that will facilitate change in your life.
Why Do We Avoid Personal Responsibility?
We avoid personal responsibility for a number of reasons. We either intentionally or unintentionally bypass responsibility for ourselves in life.
The most common reasons for avoiding self-responsibility include:
- Lack of self-awareness resulting in feeling disconnected from our deepest needs and values
- Low self-esteem and the belief that we aren’t really “that important” or “that worthy”
- Mistaken beliefs absorbed into our subconscious through our environments, interactions and experiences.
- Habits formed as children that haven’t been let go of in adulthood
Denying personal responsibility can range from a very subtle habit to a deeply entrenched conscious belief about life.
“Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause and the solution of the matter.”
How to Be Accountable For Your Life (and Why)
As I mentioned previously, taking personal responsibility is a deep form of self-respect. Not only that, but taking responsibility is empowering; it is knowing that the only person you are accountable for is yourself. And that everything you create (or don’t) is because of the choices that you make.
Here are some pointers that will help you reclaim your self-responsibility or accountability:
1. Realize that the only person you are truly responsible for is yourself
We often play out old patterns of behavior without even knowing it because we’re avoiding responsibility or playing the victim. If you find it hard to integrate this realization, try exploring this through visualization or meditation to release the need to be responsible for anyone other than yourself.
Embrace responsibility in every area of your life. Recognize the choices you’ve made from your experiences that have taken you to exactly the place you’re in, now.
2. Pinpoint the ways you are bypassing self-responsibility
You will find it useful to narrow down the places, situations and people in your life that trigger self-denial and a victim mindset. You can do this through writing, introspection or even artistic expression. Personally, I like to journal and make bullet point lists which organize my thoughts and inner awareness.
3. Learn to let go of your need to “baby” others
There is no place for martyrdom in life. No matter how helpless, weak or lost the adults in our lives may seem, the ultimate responsibility for their wellbeing comes from THEM. At the end of the day, your primary responsibility is your wellbeing.
So while it is important that you show care, concern and love to others, you must understand that there is a limit. You must accept that you can only do so much to help. The bulk of the work must be done by the other person, not you.
Recognizing that you are not responsible for others AND that you have the power to create whatever you want in life, is liberating.
Freedom comes easily once you no longer have the obligation to change someone else’s life and you have the power to change your own.
Challenge yourself to take responsibility for everything in your life and see the difference in what you create!
Read more on responsibility in this new article my 10 Tips for Taking Responsibility in your life.
If this resonates with you, start with accountability. In what part of your life have you been resistant to taking responsibility?
PS: Let’s talk.
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.