Personal Responsibility

By Heather Bunting

How often do we want to blame someone else for what happens to us?

Something happens that we didn’t want to happen, someone says something to us we didn’t want to hear, someone does something we don’t agree with.

How do we manage these situations?

Do we blame the universe or the person that says or does something?

Or do we look at our own thought processes to see what is happening?

If something happens that we didn’t want to happen, to what extent do we take responsibility for our feelings of disappointment, anger, frustration, blame etc.?

If someone says something to us we didn’t want to hear, do we criticize them or call them names, or do we own the feelings of hurt, maybe rejection, anger, etc.

If someone does something we don’t agree with, again, how do we react?

Have you noticed what happens when we put the blame out there, when we blame someone or something else? It may feel better for a few minutes but what are you left with inside? Certainly there will be a sense of self-justification, self-righteousness, maybe even self-congratulation. But deep down has our relationship with that thing or that person been affected? Has it been tainted or damaged?

What would it be like if someone said something we didn’t want to hear and we responded differently? Responded with taking responsibility, for example? We may tell that person we were hurt or angered by their response but that we are looking within to see why we reacted in that way. Then you might realize that the person had perhaps done you a favour by pointing out something of which you weren’t aware, or realize that what the person said opened an old wound which can now be allowed to heal.

If we can share with that person we build relationships instead of destroying them. We build our self confidence and our self understanding instead of turning a blind eye to our self understanding and maintaining or diminishing our self confidence.

Take a small example – this hat, for instance.

What happens when we see a person wearing this hat? Do we admire them and pay them a compliment – thereby connecting with someone new or nourishing an existing relationship? Do we wonder why a person could wear such a hat? And when we think that do we look within to see that perhaps we are jealous because we don’t have the flamboyance to wear such a hat? These are two extremes, of course, but it shows what happens when we react to even the smallest of things.

As the quote says – “By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” For circumstances, read actions/reactions/thoughts/feelings etc. So if we don’t accept personal responsibility for our feelings and thoughts we are powerless to change them and thereby change our lives.

Walking down the path of personal responsibility is not easy. It’s much easier to blame others – our parents, the weather, people at work, people we come across any and everywhere. But by accepting full responsibility for our circumstances, actions, reactions, thoughts and feelings, we have a chance of changing them and thereby changing our lives.

Often we are unaware of how our thoughts, feelings and speech affect our lives. If you would like someone to journey with you to a life of greater fulfillment, please consider contacting Possibilities for Change for a fresh perspective.