I have trouble buying into the idea that everything that happens to you in your life is the result of choices you have made… and that with properly-focused thoughts you can control your life, your success, your health, and your future. However, I do strongly believe that even though you may not have control over everything that happens to you, you do have control over how you react to situations and events.

  • Realize that everything you do has consequences. Try to show good judgement and exercise emotional control in any given situation.
  • Stop trying to assign blame when something bad occurs. What has happened has happened… the situation already exists… and it doesn’t do anyone any good to try to pin down who was at fault. Instead, accept, try to forgive and forget, and do what you need to do to get past the moment.
  • Forgive yourself. If you’ve made mistakes, admit that they were your fault and make any necessary apologies. Then let it go and move on. Dwelling on mistakes only makes them more important than they should be.
  • Don’t keep making excuses, even if you feel the need to explain why you did what you did. Excuses hold you back, and you are not accepting responsibility if you continue to try to justify your actions.
  • Try to keep away negative thoughts. Negativity is a drain on your emotions and your intellect. Positive thinking creates positive energy that will help you leave the situation behind and move forward.
  • Don’t succumb to the victim mentality. A victim has no power and no control over anything, and that is not the type of person you want to be. Self empowerment has to come from within.
  • Admit that you might not be right. Although it may hurt your pride in the short term, acknowledging that you’re wrong can help you see other options and approach the problem or situation in an entirely new direction.

Accepting responsibility for your actions and your life is one of the most important aspects of personal development. Anyone can graciously accept success and good times. It takes a strong character to successfully cope with adversities and failures and still move forward with a positive outlook.

And that’s the type of person we all want to be.

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Comments

Brigid W.

Wanted to tell you how excellent your post is on taking responsibility. If more of us – including our governments and corporations, practised this, a whole lot of stuff could be improved or eliminated.

TJH

Excellent post. It seems to me that the first step to any real change involves exactly what you’ve discussed above. All the rest — buying a wood-burning stove, comparison shopping and what not — will finally just reinforce the person’s current lifestyle unless he or she has made a core commitment to changing that life-style. Responsibility and commitment remains the keys.

Kara

Such great advice and words of wisdom. I am going to bookmark this post, come back and reread it often.

Camille

Shirley, I’ve been an outspoken advocate for taking personal responsibility since the age of 13, believe it or not. This kind of thinking came about because I had a dad who was an alcoholic and my mom would always assign some responsibility for his drinking to me, e.g., make sure you send your dad a valentine’s day card, (they were divorced)make sure you call him on his birthday – he may start drinking if you don’t, etc.
You also stated: Self empowerment has to come from within.
I love that! Over the past couple of years I’ve been able to empower myself by dropping past resentments and anger. It’s so fulfilling to be able to do that. I plan on linking to this post of yours in my own blog post on responsibility. Thanks for your blog.

CP

Good advice! …With the caveat that it’s good advice to apply to *yourself*. I think that too many people are more eager to apply it to other people’s mistakes than to their own–this seems to be responsible for a lot of the hatred and lack of compassion in the world. (I know that your advice does not suggest people do this, it’s just something that’s been on my mind.)

An interesting phrase that I heard recently is “An explanation is not an excuse”. Knowing why you did something can be useful, but it does not mean that it is acceptable to keep doing it.

Gerald

Love the photo of the indecisive birds. It’s a perfect match.

DB

I love this. I think it used to be called being a grown up. Between the number of lawsuits over every action available to humans, to the parents trying to only be their kids’ pal, to the screaming political “debates” that go around and around to nowhere (and why I ditched Facebook, actually; even the weather is a political brouhaha) and to the damnedly predictable reasons why folks over 18 do things: it was my childhood, my diet, my meds, my allergies, my persecution, my genes.

When people speak about The Greatest Generation, I don’t just think about their strength through The Great Depression or World War Two. I think about how freaking mature they were. They seemed to get on with it and leave the whining to the kids.

We need grown-ups. Grown ups used to take on a mantle of responsibility. They knew the buck stopped with them. Your words said just that.

DB

PS Camille, I could have written your post! I too at an early age wondered why people couldn’t just own their own actions. Like you I want others to get this, but I’m not going to become angry or resentful if they don’t. Their boat, their course. I’m enjoying steering my own craft, rapids and all.

JT

It has to do with facing the fact that you are the only You you have to really depend on. Yes, your spouse is there for the heavy lifting, but how would you be willing or able to take on if your spouse or partner were not there?
Sometimes in a relationship it becomes a strange little power struggle to retain control of yourself, of your autonomy. And when you lose that, it can be painful to get it back.

Empowerment is such a wonderful word; your choices, your decisions. The hardest part of that is not making the right choices, but acknowledging the wrong ones, and admitting them, and harvesting what you can from it. It’s only a failure if you learn nothing from a mistake. When something goes well we rarely stop to think why, we just keep on moving. When you put your foot wrong then is when you should be thinking, “what just happened here, and why?”

Deborah Alexander

Advice like this is food for for the mind and soul. Taking responsibility for our actions helps us to grow and forge ahead without( road blocks from unresolved issues from the past). If we can not responsibly accept our mistakes ,bad choices,negative actions etc in error we will correct them and must certainly will continue to repeat these actions.

To acknowledge, and accept our actions, then make the greatest effort to correct it shows humility, and maturity. Move forward with positive mind and attitude we all will get a lot farther in life and help others along the way!! Blessings.