It is interesting to observe human relationship with responsibility. If I asked you “are you a responsible person”? I trust your answer would be “yes”. However, if I was more specific and my question would be “do you always take responsibility for your thoughts, emotions, words and actions?” would your answer remain the same?
What is this Responsibility? What does it actually mean?
The structure of the word speaks for itself: Response + Ability. If we look at the etymology of the word it derives from a Latin word “responsabilis”, the past participle of “respondere”, meaning “to respond”. But to what? Well,
to life and everything what’s happening in it 🙂
For me responsibility means that I take ownership of my reality. I know that whatever currently is happening in my life I have created with my thoughts, emotions, words and actions. That my certain responses to certain situations created either continuation (of the same) or a change. So when I go through the day I have an ability to consciously choose how to respond to everything that’s happening to me or around me. Too theoretical, I know, let’s look at some practical examples.
Let’s say I am not happy with my job/manager/organization. I have so many opportunities to “respond” to this situation: (1) I can do absolutely nothing except continuously complaining how “bad” everyone and everything around me is and how “because of them” I am so unhappy. (2) I can adopt growth mindset and see what can I do differently to change my reality. (3) I can change job/team/organization. (4) I can focus on understanding what would make me happy and so on.
Another example, let’s say I want to get promoted, I can choose between many options: (1) I can wait/hope/expect that my manager will give me clear guidance how I have to do it. (2) I can complain that in my organization there are not too many career opportunities hence it is not even worth starting, because before a real possibility comes it is tnot soon enough. (3) I can continuously wait until I am noticed and offered the promotion. (4) I can make a clear goal out of this aspiration and consistently work to achieve it.
What I am trying to say is that in every single situation every single day we have multiple opportunities to choose the best response that would create the best outcome for us. And it’s us who choose. Nobody’s forcing us, nobody is threatening us it’s us and our conscious or subconscious mind working in tandem.
Yes, I know, we do not live in isolated environment where everything depends solely on us. We have decisions that are made “above our heads by governments and managements. But when it comes to our realm of responsibilieties do we always execute our part?
If curious about your relationship with responsibility, take a look at the following questions:
- How often do you blame others for something that happened to you?
- How often do you use such phrases like “you/he/she/they made me feel (sad/annoyed/angry etc.)” or “you/he/she/they made me do this”?
- How often do you make excuses or justify yourself?
- How often do you defend yourself?
- How often do you complain?
If to any of the above questions your answer is “often”, you won an opportunity to take a closer look to your relationship with responsibility 🙂 Those who really have mastered responsibility know that there is no one to blame for whatever is happening in their lives. They know they always acted the best they could at that moment and with that knowledge in hand. They don’t complain, instead they ask themselves “what can I do differently next time?”. They do not pretend that others are responsible for their emotions, actions or mindsets.
We are the owners our lives. Regardless how much we’d like to share this ownership with someone else. We own our thoughts, emotions, words and actions. I trust you know that using these specific instruments (thoughts, emotions, words and actions) we create our personal reality. If we choose to react with anger or annoyance, it is not because someone made us feel this way, but because we decided – consciously or not – to respond with anger or to get annoyed. If we have not achieved our goal it’s not because we did not have time, it’s because we chose different priorities. If we continue living in fixed mindset it is because we decidedso. Believe me, there is always, ALWAYS a room for another kind of reaction or response. Only if we took a small pause between someone’s action and our own reaction…
It is so easy to analyse others and see what they should do differently. But who is observing us while we are busy judging others? Often we do not analyze our own actions and reactions because it is inconvenient, unpleasant, feels like failure… It’s so much easier to say “it’s not me, it’s them”. But guess what – it’s “us” not “them” who create our own reality.
I learned throughout the years that the result is always correct as the reflection in the mirror is. If I do not like the reflection, endlessly cleaning the mirror will not help, even if I did it for years. This is exactly what A.Einstein called insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Sounds familiar? 🙂
When I started telling myself “it’s me, it’s not them” I became aware of my own behavioral patterns. Once I became aware of them I was able to start choosing responses and reactions. By responding differently to situations I started receiving different outcome. If there is something I do not like – I know I can change it, because I always, ALWAYS have a choice.
Take a deep breath and look around you – this is your current personal reality, be aware of it and own it. If there is something that you do not particularly like – do something about it. After all it’s your own thoughs, emotions, words and actions that can make a difference.