Responsibility. What a grown-up word that is. Scary too when it means you're the only one who can be responsible for whatever choices you make, for wherever you find yourself, how you behave or talk to someone. It all comes down to responsibility.
Responsibility. The ability to respond. To respond means you have thought things through very carefully and then taken the appropriate steps. It is the opposite of reacting. Reaction comes from a place of fear and shows up as anger, judgment, irritation, shame, and guilt. It makes sense then to be responsible, surely?
What Does Responsibility Mean?
Responsibility. It means dropping the blame. It means acknowledging all those stories you've carried for so long, blaming someone else for what “happened to you”. Blaming someone else for your “misfortunes”. Blaming someone else for the “wrong choices” you've made in life.
Being responsible means knowing that you're playing the blaming game, being the victim until one day you decide, ‘Enough. I want to move on”.
It means letting go of all those stories you carried and told that no longer serve you. It means becoming a survivor and no longer being willing to be the victim.
Responsibility. It's the realization of how much you justify a situation just so you can avoid taking responsibility for the situation you find yourself.
“I hate my job but I don’t have a choice” kind of situation that doesn’t serve you positively and yet you don’t want to take the responsibility of waking up and realizing that you do have a choice.
You can change any situation you find yourself unhappy about. Simply take responsibility.
Responsibility. Stepping out of your comfort zone.
Responsibility. Sharing the burdens with someone else.
Responsibility. Choosing to show compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.
Responsibility. Taking back your personal power.
7 Ways to Take More Responsibility for Your Life
Taking responsibility for your life is a big step to take and needs to happen if you want to see positive changes happening. Here are 7 ways you can start to take responsibility and take control of your life once more.
1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
For any change to happen, you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. This can be quite challenging. But, if you don't take responsibility for your own growth, you'll continue to stagnate.
Stagnation takes place when you spend too much time in your comfort zone. Growth requires stimulation, a willingness to open your mind to new opportunities, and a commitment to reach for the stars. In other words, accepting you're full of wonderful potential.
2. Be Responsible for What You Think
You need to take responsibility for your own belief system. This means being responsible for what you think and what you say. It also means being responsible for the resulting actions. Your thoughts are based on your belief system. If you think you're not good enough, you'll express negative words and show self-defeating behavior.
When you're willing to look deeply at your own beliefs, both positive and limiting, you'll be able to identify what serves you and what's holding you back. Only then can you make the changes. While it's difficult to admit to what's holding you back, it's the first empowering step to shifting the negative thoughts and building up the positive thoughts.
3. Quit the Blaming Game
Taking responsibility for your own life means quitting the blaming game. Blaming others means you're handing over your power to someone else. It means you're refusing to be responsible for where you are now and preferring to make it someone else's fault for your current circumstances.
Playing the victim gets you nowhere. You have the choice here. Will you carry on letting someone else be the reason for you not achieving your dreams, goals, and aspirations? When you blame someone else, all you"re doing is finding an excuse to not take the steps required to move forward in a positive way.
4. Ask the Right Questions
Ask yourself the following questions when you find yourself blaming or justifying:
“Who is in control here?"
"Who holds the power here?”
What do you think the answers will be? Are you in control when you're blaming or justifying? Who holds the power in this situation? It will always be the other person.
Now, ask yourself the following question when you take responsibility:
“Who is in control here?"
"Who holds the power here?”
When you're taking responsibility for your own actions, you're in control and you're the one holding the power. That is empowering.
5. Now is the Moment of Power
Do you find yourself living in the past? Too often, we tend to dwell on what was and we also focus too much on what could be. Instead, you could live in the present. When you commit to being present NOW, you'll find that's where all your power is.
The past has gone, and the future is unknown. But, when you're living now in the moment, you've got everything you need to make the shift.
Read Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" and discover how to live in the moment.
6. Focus on Your Intention and Do It
Just do it. And do it NOW. Instead of procrastinating, blaming, justifying, complaining, and finding every delaying tactic under the sun, decide to "Just do it!". When you take responsibility, you're setting intentions to take action. You know exactly what you want to do and you do it - NOW.
When you're pro-active and focus on doing something, you'll find that your life will begin to shift positively. Choose to set intentions to give you direction and focus. After all, action speaks louder than words...
7. Acknowledge You Have the Choice
When you decide you want to be happy, you're taking responsibility for how you want to live your life. By being happy, you're choosing to be positive about life. You may need to "fake it until you make it", but deciding you want to be happy is the first step to shifting your perceptions about life.
Happiness is a state of being and it comes from within. You can do this by writing a list of all the things that make you happy. You can also choose to express gratitude, love, and forgiveness. It's your life and you can choose how you want to live it. So, choose wisely and be responsible for the outcome.
Richard Carlson's book, "You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective" is an excellent read for discovering how to be happy now no matter what is happening in your life.
Choose now to laugh!
Responsibility is a BIG word. It requires courage, self-awareness, and the willingness to change for the better. It allows for empowerment on a very BIG scale. On such a big scale that you find yourself no longer blaming and justifying. You're choosing to conquer all those fears that have held you back for so long.
You're making choices and decisions that no longer frighten you but rather help you to grow and develop in ways you never thought possible. And, when you do fail, your response is to acknowledge the lesson learnt and keep going, rather than to fall into the blame/justify game.
Take responsibility for your stories. Identify the ones that no longer serve you. Let them go. Burn them. Forgive them. Do whatever it takes but take responsibility. Respond with compassion, understanding, and love.
Responsibility puts you in the driver’s seat. It’s empowering. It’s freedom. It’s thrilling. It’s growth.
Enjoy the ride.
This post was originally published on February 21st, 2021, and updated on June 15th, 2022.
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