A recent event in my professional life has given me cause to re look at what personal responsibility is. As a start I found these 2 definitions which seem to fit the bill-
- The idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. A consequence is that because we cause our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable.
- Personal responsibility also means that when individuals fail to meet expected standards, they do not look around for some factor outside themselves to blame. The demise of personal responsibility occurs when individuals blame others for their own failure to meet standards.
The essential responsibility that each of us has is that we are completely, 100% responsible for how our lives turn out.
This is tough!
When we like how things are turning out, it’s quite easy to say that we are responsible for our success. When things aren’t so good, we’re quick to point fingers at other people and place the blame on them. Have you ever known someone who will accept no responsibility? Some people are perpetual victims of what other people do! It’s really easy to do. However, remember this—when you point your finger outside, you have just now accepted the victim status.
You have ultimate control over your life. You have control over your friends, your love relationships, and your career. You decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong, whether you should stay in this weekend or go out, whether to vote Conservative or Labour. You decide whom to see, what to wear, and what to eat.
However, I accept that we have very little control over such things as the government, international affairs, economic policy, the rise and fall of the stock market, Mother Nature. Changes like these can often disrupt your life and force you to change your plans. Often there is very little you can do about it, and yet you are overwhelmingly affected by it.
Taking personal responsibility means realizing you can’t control certain things and to stop trying. So don’t try to change the uncontrollable, attempt to figure out what’s going to happen, or try to control circumstances. Remember the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It is never circumstances that make you happy. Two people with the same circumstances are in two totally different states of mind. We have the ability to choose our attitudes given a certain set of circumstances, but we don’t always practice or acknowledge this. Why? Because it’s scary.
Ever think that you’d be happy if you had more money? Ever think that if you’d only find the perfect mate, you would be happy? Ever think that if your significant other or a family member would change somehow, then you’d be happy? Ever think that if you’d lose some weight, you’d be happy?
Well, here’s some big news for you.
If you’re not happy without a relationship, you’re not going to be happy with one. If you’re not happy without the money, you’re not going to be happy with it. If you’re not happy with the weight, you’re not going to be happy without it.
And that’s good news—it means you can stop waiting for your circumstances to change to make you happy. Accept what you cannot change, change the things you can, and take personal responsibility for making yourself happy.
Happiness is an attitude, not an occasion.
With fondness and love