How do we avoid taking responsibility for our life?

Taking responsibility for your own life is a topic I have frequently approached and you have surely often heard talking about it. Why it’s so discussed? Why it’s so important? If I were to summarize the answer to a single sentence, that would be the following: if you don’t take responsibility for your own life, you give up your personal power outside yourself. If you think you have no control over what you live, you think it’s not up to you how your life looks like and you think you don’t have the power to make the changes you want. You're just a victim. You react to what happens to you instead of acting, instead of responding to life’s challenges in a way chosen by you, creating your destiny as you wish.

Taking responsibility for your life means:

-taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words and actions - your thoughts come from your mind, you are the one who chooses the way you think, your emotions are also yours, they are a consequence of the thoughts you feed in your mind; you choose the words you say and the way you talk; your actions are personal choices, they are not imposed or provoked by anyone;

- doing your best to change the circumstances that harm you or to consciously choose a particular attitude when circumstances don’t depend on you - for example, if you know that the influence of some people is bad for you, limit that influence or distance yourself permanently from them; if the environment in which you live is toxic, seek solutions to change that environment;

- becoming aware that your happiness it’s up to you - your happiness doesn’t depend on what exists on the outside, but on the inside;

- actively seeking for solutions instead of complaining and blaming others - realize what your share of responsibility is in those situations you complain about and act differently;

- make peace with your past, that is accept what it was, learn from your mistakes and move on with your life living the present moment and making future plans. Create a vision of how you want your life to be, make conscious choices in accordance with that vision so that, step by step, you can turn it into reality;

- setting your priorities and acting in accordance with them - our energy is limited throughout the day, so if we want to achieve the desired results and achieve our goals, we need to know in what to invest that energy, otherwise we can find ourselves in the situation of finding justifications or blaming external factors for our lack of satisfaction;

-  being honest with yourself, admitting your weaknesses and looking for developing permanently - for this to happen we have to give up excuses and justifications. If we are dissatisfied with ourselves, with some aspects of our lives, it’s our duty to change those things that we don’t like about ourselves instead of blaming the genes, fate, or other circumstances that have brought us to this point.

- recognizing the true reasons why we choose not to take responsibility - if we maintain an attitude, a certain behavioral pattern and do nothing to make a change in our lives, that means we have some benefits from that situation. For example, one of the benefits of a victim's attitude is that people will treat us with kid gloves.

Taking responsibility means becoming aware of the fact that you are the creator of your own life - you decide how you want to be, think, act; you make your destiny by your actions or by your lack of action, you give meaning to your life. Responsibility is closely linked to freedom, because true freedom doesn’t exist without taking responsibility.

People need to give meaning to their existence, they need structure. When they don’t know how to manage their freedom, which automatically implies taking 100% responsibility for their lives, faced with the arbitrary or the multitude of choices, they seek to cling to something that seems to be greater than them, something or someone to guide them or tell them what to do. Therefore, obedience and conformism become ways in which people avoid taking responsibility for their own life.

Other ways an individual avoids taking responsibility are the following:

- creating an inner world where they feel constrained by external forces and deprived of freedom. This means believing that we have no choice, as if we were forced to act in a certain way. A reply commonly used by some people who don’t want to take responsibility for their actions came to my mind: "What should I’ve done if she made a pass on me? To refuse her? "As if saying no couldn’t be an option and they couldn’t control their actions;

- placing responsibility on someone else’s shoulders - another person is responsible for our happiness, our well-being. We put our destiny in other people’s hands and we expect them to offer us what we refuse to offer ourselves - not that we couldn’t, but because it’s more convenient this way;

- denying responsibility - by the person's belief that they are helpless, that they are just a life’s victim, a victim of some events they’ve created even without realizing it. As long as we believe that the situation we are in and the suffering we feel is caused by someone else or by external forces, we’ll think that any attempt to change will be useless. We aren’t the ones responsible, so it’s not up to us to do anything to get out of that situation or to make any change;

- not taking responsibility by losing control - we can talk about those people who blame others for their own experiences: "Because of you I got angry! Here's what you made me do! " If we behave irresponsibly, we are irrational and we act without thinking, we can justify our behaviour by saying that "we have lost our minds" or that we acted unconsciously, without realizing it. My question is, when you say that you have unconsciously done one thing, isn’t your unconscious also yours? If we delude ourselves that the effects of our actions aren’t that important, or we lie to ourselves that it wouldn’t matter that much, this thing, however, doesn’t spare us from the responsibility that belong to us. But when we say we can’t control ourselves, what we really want is others to take care of us.

Believing, without questioning at least for a moment, in an implacable fate or in a predetermined life, we become powerless and we even find ourselves excuses for our lack of action and pro-activity. In fact, taking responsibility also leads to giving up the belief  in a supreme savior or a magical savior.

If you want your life to be in your control, to be the architect of your own destiny, it’s necessary to take 100% responsibility for it. This thing implies to take responsibility for every choice you make however insignificant it may seem. Be aware day by day of the impact and consequences of your thoughts, emotions and actions or lack of action. It’s wonderful to let yourself dream, to visualize the life of your dreams, but without concrete actions and without taking responsibility, nothing will happen, nothing will change.

Choose wisely!

Dr. Ursula Sandner



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