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Personal Responsibility - What Does it Really Mean to Begin Taking Responsibility?

Aug 17, 2007
Taking responsibility for yourself involves more than admitting wrong-doings or arriving on time for work: When you make a choice or devise a solution to a problem, you must be accountable for the results or outcomes. To truly take personal responsibility in life you need to let go of any concerns over how others live and the impact that potentially has on you. You need to own your emotions without blaming the actions of others for the way you feel, which certainly sounds simpler than it actually is!

It is absolutely imperative that you cease comparing yourself to others; thinking if you only had what they had you would be leading a higher quality of life. There will always be people who are better and worse off than you in all areas of your life, and from those two groups there will be people who have done less and more than you have. Take responsibility for the way you feel and your attitude to whatever you are faced with each day, and let go of the idea all together that you are in any way a victim to circumstances. The glass can be half full or half empty, and someone who's taking responsibility in life knows it is half full and will work with what they thankfully have.

For a person who considers themselves clueless when it comes to taking responsibility in their life, it is best to start small. Begin by looking at your interactions with other people and the control you possibly attempt to exert over situations. For example, if your partner makes a choice to go and spend their day at the beach and you feel upset because you weren't invited or advised about their plans, do you express this to them when you see them next? Do you say "Why didn't you invite me to the beach? I've been stuck here alone all day! You make me feel like you don't like my company!" This kind of reaction means you are giving away all personal responsibility for your own feelings and your own actions, and you are trying to control the feelings and actions of your loved one.

Take a moment to examine the facts: Every adult has every right to do whatever they choose with their life and their time. This having been said, why should others be made to feel like they should change their plans or desires or live their life according to what you want? When someone who has evolved to the point where taking responsibility comes naturally to them, there will be nothing worse than another person trying to "make" them feel guilty or wrong for doing things the way they want to. Using the above example, a person who has developed personal responsibility will see their loved one isn't around, recognize that they feel a bit bored or lonely at that time, and take responsibility for themselves by choosing to go shopping, or perhaps go to the beach.

You push through the desire to blame other or your partner, get up, go out and do your own thing, and you are opening yourself up to have your own awesome experiences. Maybe that day you bump into an old employer who wants to interview you for an employment opening in his new company, or perhaps you see your English Literature professor at the drug store, giving you a chance to discuss a problem you have with an assignment? When these things happen, and you are on your own path, you feel inspired, motivated and proud of taking responsibility for yourself. It is these experiences that propel you to take further risks, chances and confident leaps of faith to advance in life.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the big picture of dreams that seem completely unachievable, focus on the details and do the ground work to become an overall independent person, taking responsibility in every area of your life. If you fail to do this as soon as possible, you are risking entering into a state of regret and frustration, continuing to blame others for your circumstances. Write plans and follow through on every step necessary, the whole time remaining completely aware that you create your reality.

Surround yourself with positive people who are masters at taking responsibility so you don't have people trying to control or blame you for their situation. If you remember never to say to anyone (or think) that they "made" you do or feel something, and if you stay focused on yourself and your own life choices, you can proudly say you are taking responsibility in your life. Of course everything is not going to instantly become perfect, but through learning from the downs and treasuring the ups you will grow to know yourself better and steer your life in the right direction, responsibly.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of my-personal-growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
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