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Taking responsibility for your life and, if you must, changing your attitude toward yourself and others is what this is all about. Self-responsibility means that you are accountable for your choices and actions in your life and especially in the relationship with your self. You may have been wrongfully treated or had some hard luck, but in the end, your life is truly your creation–you cannot blame outside forces. As the saying goes, your life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to those events and circumstances.
Responsibility means the ability to respond competently to whatever happens to us with our actions.
The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs”. Joan Didion
This isn’t always easy. But one way to start taking more responsibility for your life is to begin to respond differently to the events that occur in your life. I will give you an example.
Last month I went to get my hair done. I paid by debit card, and while doing so, I found that I was not able to leave a tip as I always do. I didn’t have any cash with me, so I left feeling terrible. While I was walking I started thinking: “I could not leave the tip because of their machine. It didn’t make sense!”
You see, I was blaming the machine! Then I realized that I was not taking responsibility, for the question is not: Who’s to blame? The question is: What needs to be done? I felt relief after I asked myself: So, what needs to be done?.
A few weeks later I went back to get my hair done, and I was determined to fix this issue, so I said to myself: “This time I will pay with credit card and the machine is going to ask me for the tip. I will then tip her double”.
When I went to pay, I gave her my credit card, and she said: “You can use this option (tip) or just press enter.” So I said to her:” I will give you a double tip because the last time I was here I was not able to give you your tip.” And I did. You should have seen her face–she was so happy and so grateful! And, I felt a sense of self-respect for having rectified the matter.
This is just a small example of how to take 100% responsibility, how to respond differently to the events that happen to you. You will find that in practicing this first principle you will not only feel a sense of pride, you will also feel in control of your life.
In taking 100% responsibility, you refuse to see yourself as a victim. When you become a victim, you have given your power to some outside person or circumstance. Self-responsibility means that I don’t blame everyone and everything else for everything that is going on my life–not even the smallest things. If your closet is a mess, you take responsibility and clean it. You don’t just throw up your hands and say “I have no time,” “I don’t have enough space,” etc.
Write down the following questions:
1) What does “taking 100% responsibility” mean to you?
2) In what situations do you need to begin to take 100% responsibility? In your relationships, work, money, etc. ?
3) Say out loud: “I am responsible for raising the level of my self-esteem” and write down all the negative thoughts that come into your mind in reaction.
4) Write down one thing you will do to take responsibility for improving your self-esteem. This could be doing something you consider “self-indulgent,” acknowledging your strengths instead of only your flaws, etc. You can get more ideas reading my Top thirty-seven Self-esteem tips.