What do you want out of life? Is it the job, the house or the body of your dreams? If you don’t have what you want, ask yourself why? Many people waste a lot of time and energy playing the blame game instead of accepting responsibility for their present circumstances. It is impossible to control the way others treat you, but how you respond is up to you. Children blame their parents for not giving them the same head start as their friends, parents blame their children for hindering their progress, men and women blame each other for their trust issues, the list is endless. There is immense power in taking responsibility for your life, is it easy? No, or everyone would do it, but it is possible.
What is Responsibility?
Responsibility refers to taking action towards the things you need to do, and whether good or bad, accepting the consequences of the actions or inactions you failed to take. A consequence is the outcome or results of our choices. In other words, if you do the right thing, you will experience good consequences, if you do the wrong thing, you will experience bad consequences. For example, let’s say you were raised in a household where everyone was overweight, and it was the norm to eat an unhealthy diet. As a result, during a health check-up, your doctor tells you that if you don’t change your eating habits, you will end up with diabetes in the next couple of years. You choose to ignore the doctors warning and carry on eating sugary treats. As predicted, you are later diagnosed with diabetes. Your doctor gave you the responsibility of changing your diet, you failed to take the right action which led to negative consequences.
What is Blame?
Blame is the opposite of responsibility; it is attributing your misfortune to something or someone else to avoid taking responsibility for your actions. In the example above, you would blame your parents for not teaching you how to eat healthy as a child. If you are always late for work, you blame the traffic, instead of accepting that if you had got out of bed when the alarm went off instead of hitting the snooze button for half an hour, you would be on time. Blame is a common human reaction to negative consequences; it feels better to find fault in everyone else instead of looking in the mirror. Blame works as a defense mechanism and helps you safeguard your sense of self-esteem by evading the awareness of your own failings or flaws.
Accepting responsibility for your life will empower you to move forward and start taking actions towards achieving your goals. Here are some tips on how to do so.
Write It Down
Get yourself a journal and draw a line down the middle. On the top of one side of the page, write the word, “goals,” on the other side, write “reasons for non-achievement.” The idea here is to get to the bottom of why you are not doing as well as you should in certain areas. You will find when that when you are confronted with the reasons for non-achievement, you really have no other excuse other than yourself. Once you have arrived at a place where you can accept responsibility for your actions, you are ready to move forward.
Forgive And Release People
If you feel you are not where you want to be because of other people, it’s time to let them go. Maybe you didn’t have the best parents, or your partner left you for someone else. Whoever you feel has hurt you and served as an enemy of progress, forgive them and release them. Regardless of what a person has done to you, forgiveness is never about the person, it’s about you. It frees you from the chains of bitterness, releases you from the weight of hatred and gives you the strength to move in the direction that you desire. Forgiveness does not mean you’ve got to invite the person/people back into your life, it means you release them by refusing to allow the negative emotions attached to what they did to fester within you.
You can’t change the past, the future has yet to arrive, but what you do now will determine where you end up in the future. Start taking responsibility for the moment you are living in, whether that means changing your thoughts, your words or the way you treat others. Use the present to shape your ideal reality knowing that everything you do now will have a consequence. Whether those consequences are good or bad, is up to you.
A part of being present is taking action towards your goals; you should have already written them down, the next step is to start working towards them. Goals without a plan are a waste of time; therefore, you will need to think about how you are going to achieve them. Do some research, ask people, get advice and formulate a step by step plan for each one of your goals. Goal attainment is dependent upon you being present, most people don’t have small goals, which means to achieve them, they must be broken down into small manageable tasks that you can work on every day. In this way, you build momentum and are not left feeling overwhelmed when you think about your goals and the amount of work you will need to do to succeed.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in life, if it’s worth having, you will need to fight for it. And this is what most people find difficult. Looking within and accepting responsibility for who you are, what you’ve become, and your present circumstances is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it’s worth it. When you realize that you have power over your life, and that you have the ability to write your future, you will find a renewed sense of fulfillment and purpose.