What a way to start an article!
If creating a successful blog is all about increasing read time, then this title is like a wet blanket for my stats. Readers will be bouncing off this page like a watermelon on a trampoline.
It’s fair enough, too, there’s nothing worse than someone saying that everything Is your fault. It stings. Especially when it’s by a stranger on the internet.
“Fuck this guy, what does he know?!” I can hear you saying under your breath.
Before you throw your phone at the wall, I'm not here to make you feel bad about yourself, really I’m not.
It just comes across that way because we are hard-wired to think that personal responsibility, especially in negative situations, is to be avoided. When we are young, we learn that owning up to things is what gets us in trouble.
“Don’t tell dad, and he won’t get mad”.
That was my motto.
So, what do we do? We lie, hide, and do whatever we can to shift responsibility away from ourselves.
It’s natural and it’s ok.
On the other side of the coin, however, taking responsibility for something positive, you better believe we want the spotlight on us. We can’t get enough!
This inconsistency is prevalent in parenting more than other areas of our lives. Here’s how it goes;
Your kid does something good; ‘I raised them well, what a great job I’m doing”.
They do something bad; ‘why are you being like this, I don’t know where you got this attitude from!’
The inconsistency of human behaviour is excruciating. Picking and choosing of responsibility based on whether it paints you in a good light or not is the cause of a lot of pain and comes from a place of a rejection of reality.
If I’m being honest, Everything is not actually your fault, it just sounds good as a blog title.
Oh come on, I have to get your attention somehow!
Things can happen to you, and not just because of you.
Health problems, injuries inflicted by others, redundancies ect. All of these things often aren’t avoidable and truly not your doing.
It’s not your fault if your mum dies, for example (I hope it isn’t anyway).
It is worth noting, however, that the way in which you react to a situation is entirely in your control. Outside your autonomous nervous system, you have so much more power than you think.
The paradox of personal responsibility is that, although easier in the moment, it’s more painful to blame others than it is to take responsibility for yourself.
When you look outwards to explain an issue, you are removing power from yourself and handing it over to external factors. Your boss, your family, the weather, whatever it is, it controls you as soon as it’s the the reason for your pain.
So, as hard as it may sound, taking personal responsibility for what you perceive as ‘negative’ in your life can put the power back in your hands. And once you have the power, you can make change for the better.
Seeing responsibility in this way has also larger and more dramatic connotations for your life than just getting through difficult situations. It’s a way to take control of your trajectory and not falling victim to the ‘drifting through life’ trope.
If you’re at the wheel, you can steer your ship.
In this terrible analogy, the wheel is personal responsibility…. You get it.
Anyway, let’s jump into a real, practical example of radical responsibility in action.
I got fired six months ago, and I was pissed…
It felt like it came out of nowhere and I just couldn’t understand why. They must have made a mistake, right?
I immediately jumped to blaming them for everything.
“I didn’t have enough support”
“They didn’t let me do things my way”
“Why are they so horrible” we’re just a few things I made up in my head.
All of this made me mad, frustrated and upset. But the problem was, having all of those thoughts and emotions wasn’t going to get my job back. They were just sucking me further down into my self-dug hole.
The truth is I was ashamed and I needed someone besides myself to blame because it was too painful to think that maybe I just wasn’t good at the job.
After the initial anger subsided, and I could think a little more clearly, I remembered that it doesn’t have to be this way. I put radical responsibility into practice and took ownership over the entire situation.
I was the issue.
Oh my god, did things get easier. I was able to look at the situation objectively and realise, yeh, perhaps I did have a part to play. I could then look at myself critically to see how I could grow. All things that would have been impossible if I still blamed them.
What I’ve learned after taking personal responsibility is that there’s opportunity for growth in every situation. And whether you can act on it depends on whether you put yourself in the position to or not.
Responsibility is the key.
It’s not easy, but with a bit of practice and a little discomfort, you can take control of your life and bring the power back into your hands.
If you were one of the few readers that got past the thank-you! I hope it was worth it!
Cya in the next one x