You are not who you want to be. Neither what you say you are. You are what you sow. You are what you reap. – Fernando Aguilar
What is self-responsibility?
The state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.
This is the definition you will find in the dictionary. It is straight forward and true. To put it bluntly, it is a way of life, a habit of saying this is happening because of my decisions. This is happening because I choose a specific path which leaded me to this.
By no means, self-responsibility is a way to tell the world “this is happening to me because of this people or this circumstance”. It is not easy to establish but it has the clear advantage to give you back the control of your life.
As you have probably experienced it the past, taking full responsibility of what is happening to you is not easy. It can be painful and even frustrating. This can easy lead to you trying to avoid self-responsibility.
There are three main reasons which can lead to this state of fact. The first one is lack of self-awareness, whereby you are disconnected to your deepest needs and values. The second reason is a poor self-esteem and the belief that you are not that important, making it difficult to imagine that you can have any control whatsoever in your life. The third reason is habits formed while you were kids.
But avoiding self-responsibility is not an option. You need to start being accountable for your life.
In order to do so you need first to realize that the person you are here for is yourself. You are the person you should look for because you are in full control of your mind and body. In a mirror way, you have to let go of your need to take care of others, to “baby” others.
This is not the same as being selfish. It means that you should not try to do for other things for them because you think it is the way they should do it.
You should focus instead on your main responsibility which is taking care of you and accepting everything that happens to you as yours. It is often easier to focus on others, enabling us to look away from our own life with a “clear conscience”.
Those two things could lead to reclaiming the joy of self-responsibility.
I found the article of Aletheia Luna in Lonewolf.com quite entertaining about this topic. She goes in more depth about these concepts.
Now, you have understood that you are responsible for your life and you know why. But what are the skills needed to do put into action to achieve our goal. Olga Pavaka of DeepH underlines several skills to have in order to master self-responsibility. I will focus on 6.
Care about yourself
- To take care of yourself is the first step into accepting self-responsibility. Taking care of your mind and body by reading, watching what you eat or doing some physical activities will enable you to be more aware of yourself and the power you have on your well-being.
Don’t forget about self-support
- You have to make sure that you keep enough time for yourself. You have to define activities. Whatever they are, they will bring joy in your life. It will create a space where you can breathe, where you can balance your emotional condition. You have to nourish yourself on a regular basis.
Be honest with yourself
- Try to grasp your true feeling, especially when they are negative ones. Because if you do not sense what you feel, you will react in a habit mode and not with the benefit of hindsight, the benefit of experience.
Give yourself the opportunity to be “imperfect”
- Most of the time, the person we are the hardest with, is ourselves. We absorb mistakes as personal failure and the fear of personal failure brings us to a dead end. Thus, it is crucial to separate ourselves from our action. We are not our action. We can act foolish without being a fool. We are a unique human being acting in many different ways.
Accept constraints and turn them into steps of development
- In time of crisis or difficult situation, you have to accept it as it is. This will create space to look for opportunities within this complex situation. Doing so, you will prospect new ways of doing things.
Form a habit
- In best cases, habit of taking responsibility has been engrained in you while you were kids. If it is not the case, then your first responsibility is to form the habit of self-responsibility.
Responsibility is an important step to be aware of your own life. – Olga Pavuka
To sum up, one important thing to remember is that for change to happen, we must act with some level of intent. We have to decide that we are in charge of our life, whatever the outcome. We are responsible for whatever happens. This brings us the most powerful tool of all, freedom.
Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves. – Friedrisch Nietsche