Life is full of options, and what you make of them determines your entire experience. Sometimes you can swim against the current and other times you can go with the current. Recognizing that the outcome of your life is a product of your decisions is what personal responsibility is all about. Take on any storm that may come your way like the captain of a ship, as calm waters are never for a skilled sailor after all.
Two different philosophies on how our lives are shaped
Some people attribute the events and conditions of their lives to their own actions, while others believe that their lives are determined by forces external to themselves, such as luck, chance, fate, or other powerful beings.
At one end of the spectrum, there are people who have a creator mentality, while at the other end there are people who have a victim mentality. One has power, and the other is powerless. One believes that they can have a say in the results and experiences of their lives, while the other believes that regardless of what they do, external forces will determine their future. Who are you and, more importantly, who do you want to be?
Opportunity vs. Choice: What is your personal philosophy?
Responsibility is a contraction of the words “response” and “capacity.” In other words, your ability to respond to your environment. Responsibility is the ability to respond wisely at every fork in the road, your choices bringing you closer and closer to your desired results and experiences. The opposite is to passively wait for your luck to be determined by luck or other powerful beings.
You can choose to be the creator of your own destiny, look for solutions, take action and try something new when any stimulus from your environment is requested. Or you can choose to be the victim of your world, blame, complain, and find excuses for your choices when prompted for a stimulus from your environment. The former helps you achieve your goals and accepts responsibility , while the latter rarely helps you achieve either.
When guilt arises, you have to recognize that they are ways of avoiding the difficulties involved in tackling a problem. If you find yourself trying to blame yourself or others, consider thinking in terms of acceptance rather than judgment . It is a very simple distinction but it is powerful because it can help you rewind your conditioned response patterns. It is true that you have your way of seeing things, but sometimes you can forget that you are making decisions and those decisions have consequences that profoundly affect your relationships and your outlook on life.
The psychological benefits of having a choice
Compared to the belief that outcomes are determined by forces external to oneself (also known as determinism), if you believe that your controlling force is internally, that belief links you to low levels of psychological distress. Conversely, if you believe that your controlling force is external, that belief associates you with higher levels of psychological distress.
? By distancing ourselves from our own potential role in problems, we also ignore the possibility of our place in solutions, as well as the joy and affinity that come from solving problems together. Consequently, owning your choices and accepting responsibility increases your self-esteem and elicits positive, empowering emotions.
Remember that growth is a process, not an event. You need to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate towards accepting responsibility. When you realize that your responsibilities depend on your actions and vice versa, everything will begin to have a much broader and more meaningful sense in your life.