Self-esteem and confidence stem from personal responsibility. It is nothing new but many of us, myself included, who lack a good image of ourselves suffer from poor personal responsibility.
(This article is part of my free CBT lessons for all.)
So what is personal responsibility? It is about the choices we make, the thoughts we have and the decisions we make. It is about recognising the outcome of your life and your own responsibility in the involvement of your life.
Responsibility is defined as having to deal with something or control someone, such as a child. And it is also a fact of being accountable or to blame for something. It is your own personal responsibility in the matter.
How do You Accept Personal Responsibility?
By acknowledging you are responsible for the choices in your life, this does not include any abuse you may have suffered from another. But in general, you are responsible for what you choose to think or feel, and it is you who chooses the direction of your life. You have to stop blaming others for the choices you make and point your finger back at yourself when discussing the effects of your actions.
Failing to Accept
If you aren’t keen on accepting self-responsibility, you run the risk of becoming too dependent on others for recognition, approval, praise or affirmations and being accepted.
You might be angry or depressed over the things which have happened to you and feel it is all unfair, which results in being fearful about taking risks or any large decision. The feeling of fear can be overwhelming, and you might suffer from poor relationships as your emotional and physical health may suffer from poor personal responsibility.
There are several ways this may emanate in your thoughts, and you may believe it all to be true, but these are some of the traits of someone who does not accept their own responsibility:
- It is not my fault the way I am, someone else is to blame or something else is to blame.
- Relying on someone else to fix you.
- No point trying to take control as life is so unfair.
- I’m a failure, no-one can help me.
- I’m not responsible for my future, I’m a lost cause.
- Fate, luck, the governing bodies, other people will always influence my future, I’ve no control.
- My life is so bad, I will never be happy.
- I can’t change, a leopard dosen’t change it’s spots, neither can I.
Developing Personal Responsibility
But how do you change your way of thinking or believing the same things for many years? The first thing is to seek out help for yourself and be open to new ideas and concepts about life and the human condition. Be rid of irrational beliefs, overcome your fears, and affirm the good things in yourself and with positive affirmations that are realistic.
You have to understand and recognise you are the only one in control of the choices you make; yes, other peoples choices may affect you, but you are in control of your own thoughts, feelings and actions.
You also choose the people in your life; you can welcome them if they are good for you or say goodbye if they negatively affect you; you are in control of who you associate with.
Letting go of fear, blame, mistrust and feelings of insecurity is a must; it is difficult but needs to be done. I personally am working on this issue at the time of writing.
Be open to change, stop thinking you can’t change, and things will never change. You need to grow in your life and blossom into the person you need to be. Stop hiding behind a facade that covers low confidence and self-esteem. Set goals and priorities; you are in charge of your life, nobody else; you are the one who decides where your life is heading; you are in control.
You might be thinking that is all very well, Lou, but I live with a control freak who governs nearly everything, or I lost my job and will be turfed out of my home soon; where is the control in that!
Yes, events happen, but there is some personal responsibility; you can still choose how to feel and what your thoughts will be. You can still control your life by actively pursuing another job or leaving a dire relationship; you have personal responsibility for your own life; stop letting events control you; otherwise, you will be in a fast-moving car as the passenger and there will be no driver.
Stop Blaming Yourself
Do you often think, “what did I do wrong?” Or “why do I always muck everything up?” Would you respond this way to another person if they were telling you about the same situation?
How else could you respond?
The following is an excerpt from a booklet I received from my Occupational Therapy Team, which in fact, is helping me write this article for you.
Pretend you are playing the role of a friend, someone you respect. Would you have more compassion for their expereince? Would you wnat to be more supportive? Would you want to help them by offering a more detached view?
The question you ask will depend on the situation, but ones that fit well in nearly any situation are…
“What can I take from this?”
“What do I want to learn from this?”
“How do I want it to be different in the future?”Occupational Therapy Team
How do you feel after you have asked yourself these questions?
If you start to blame yourself or begin to feel fearful or apportion blame to yourself, try rephrasing the question until you feel comfortable. You want to get an objective response, not one which makes you feel bad; remember would you say it to a good friend?
There is no just one path in life; it is full of twists and turns, little footpaths to wide open plains; this gives you many chances; taking the wrong path means taking the right one next time. You can live your life in many ways, not just the way it is now; just because life is difficult at the moment does not mean it always will be; it also does not mean you have done anything wrong; you’ve just walked onto rougher terrain.
The options open to you may seem closed at first, but asking questions like you would ask a friend will help you to explore more options, and soon you will be back onto an easier path. You can change your perspective on anything, whether it be a big or small life event.
Direct your energy to self-compassion and exploration rather than self-punishment. You are in charge of your life, and like me, we all need to practice personal responsibility to improve our lives and live the life we are meant to lead, rather than being led by others and situations.
Peace & Blessings