Have you ever been more keenly aware of your own personal responsibility than in the last six months of the Corona virus? If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us (and it’s taught us a lot!), it’s that EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL is responsible not only for him/herself, but also for the well-being of others around them. Wear a mask, disinfect your hands, cough into your elbow, self-quarantine if you have symptoms…these actions have become ingrained into (most of) our brains by now, and if these guidelines are taken seriously, fewer people DIE. Countries that acted quickly and dramatically have seen their curves flatten out, and countries that did not (and I’m not going to name names!) are dealing with runaway infection and economic upheaval.
It's as if certain governments are treating the pandemic like a 90’s hit:
While you can’t do a lot to change the outcome of some people’s horrible decisions (except VOTE IN NOVEMBER!), you CAN start assuming responsibility for your OWN choices and start reaping the rewards of those choices in your own life! Now, the only decision to make is: WHERE TO START?
If we want to assume responsibility for our choices, we have to become aware of some of the ways that we have refused to do so in the past.
From Blame to Contribution
One of the reasons that you don’t own your own decisions is that you don’t want to be blamed for making wrong ones. You fear the blame (and the impending SHAME) that poor choices would heap on you, and so you do whatever you can to deflect that blame. One of the best ways to deflect blame is to make someone else responsible for the circumstances in your own life, otherwise known as “playing the victim.” Do you find yourself playing the victim? Here’s a checklist of find out:
People who play the victim:
- don't take responsibility.
- are frozen in their life.
- hold onto grudges.
- have trouble being assertive.
- feel powerless and often turn to manipulative behavior to get what they need.
- don't trust others.
- don't know when to say enough is enough.
- get into arguments easily.
How do you free yourself from a victim mentality? It starts with assuming responsibility for every single choice you make!
- You gained ten pounds in four months? What food and exercise decisions did you make that contributed to that weight gain?
- You feel powerless to advance in your career? How many applications have you filled out?
- Your relationship is in ruins? Have you chosen not to forgive them for what they did to you?
- Your account is constantly overdrawn? When was the last time you balanced your checkbook or stuck to a monthly budget?
- People keep taking advantage of you? When was the last time you said, “No” when you didn’t really want to do something?
By identifying YOUR contribution to every situation and decision in your life, you will start finding opportunities to make different situations in the future! While you can’t control every single circumstance in your life, you CAN learn to control your reactions and thus, begin to regain control of the quality of your life!
Connect the Dots!
Another reason you may not be assuming responsibility lies in the human tendency to disconnect negative actions from their negative consequences. The most striking evidence of this is a medical doctor that smokes, although he/she knows that smoking has a direct link to the development of cancer. We might know about the correlations, but we tend to think that the “rules” won’t apply to us. Where are you experiencing this kind of disconnect? Here are some common examples:
- Anger management issues that lead to social isolation or professional consequences
- Uncontrolled eating that leads to excess weight gain
- Credit card spending and spiraling debt (compounding interest, y’all!)
It’s going to take a huge dose of courage to admit that the rules apply to you, as well, and start making the small and achievable steps needed toward living responsibly. You might enlist the help of a counselor or coach to point out the areas of your life that are most in need of accountability and map out a plan of action for thinking and behaving differently.
I can’t say it often enough…blame disempowers the blamer! Assuming responsibility for your choices is the ultimate act of EMPOWERMENT, and people that feel empowered tend to lead themselves and others in a positive direction.
Take courage and begin identifying the areas of your life where you have refused to accept responsibility! Determine where your own contributions and logical fallacies have led to your current situation, and borrow former President Harry Truman’s famous saying:
“THE BUCK STOPS HERE!”
The Link to my Livesession: The Buck Stops Here!