Do you like to blame other people and deny your own mistakes? Even if you know that you caused the problem? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you might have a problem with self responsibility.
It’s not so easy to take responsibility for your actions. It requires courage, greatness, acceptance, and an honest assessment of the situation. After all, not everyone likes to admit their mistakes.
Yet, why is responsibility so important?
Self responsibility is especially important because it enables you to live your life more self-determined. It gives you the freedom and the feeling to have complete control over your own life. This, in turn, brings various other advantages.
In this article, we will first explain what self responsibility is and why it is important. Then we will look at the symptoms of missing self responsibility and finally explain how you can take responsibility for your life.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
- What Is Self Responsibility?
- Why Is Responsibility Important?
- Missing Self Responsibility – Symptoms
- Take Responsibility for Your Actions – Step by Step
What Is Self Responsibility?
Simply put, self responsibility (also called personal responsibility) means to stand up for your actions and take responsibility for them. No matter whether the consequences of these actions are positive or negative.
Self responsibility is part of a strong sense of responsibility and aims to sharpen the perception of your actions. It’s based on the following pillars:
Taking self responsibility doesn’t mean, however, that you continuously blame yourself for everything that is negative or fails.
There are many reasons why you should establish a way of thinking in which you see yourself as responsible for everything. This will make you feel in control of your own life. However, you must distinguish between things that you can influence and things that you can’t.
Why Is Responsibility Important?
A strong sense of personal responsibility will help you move forward in the most diverse areas of life.
In addition to analytical skills, many employers are looking for people with a strong sense of self responsibility and accountability. If you work with people who refuse to accept responsibility, as a narcissist, for example, you will know why companies do so.
But personal responsibility is also important for self-protection. You are responsible for your own actions. This includes different topics such as your physical and mental health, nutrition or your pension plan.
If you give all these matters completely out of your hands, maybe even carelessly, you also give up responsibility and control. However, with more personal responsibility, even for difficult and long-term matters, you ensure that you get the better results.
Self responsibility is key if you want to be happy in life. Whether you have problems in your private life or at work: you alone are responsible for being happy. If certain circumstances bother you, change them.
With more self responsibility, you feel the control you have over yourself and your life. This will motivate you to leave your comfort zone and change things that bother you.
Even if you can’t change things with your direct input, you can change your attitude towards them. No matter how you turn it around, you will no longer live your life determined by others. Instead you will live it the way you want to live it, which will make you happy.
Simply put, self responsibility results in more self-determination.
More self-determination, in turn, can lead to more intrinsic motivation.
Missing Self Responsibility – Symptoms
How do you realize that you lack personal responsibility? We at Mindmonia compiled the most common symptoms for you.
Fear of Responsibility
A lack of self responsibility is often caused by fear.
In many cases, you associate responsibility with something negative, such as punishment. If you successfully avoided responsibility in the past, and therefore also punishment, it can quickly turn into a habit.
If punishment is imminent, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?“
Even if you are punished for it, you will learn from your mistake and not make it again because you learned your lesson.
Running Away From Problems
If you lack self responsibility, you are likely running away from your problems. This is because accountability is closely linked to a strong sense of reality. Without self responsibility, you live in your own world.
In reverse, this means that if you take self responsibility for your actions, you face the truth and consistently work towards solutions.
If you rigorously deny any errors to avoid the consequences, you won’t develop yourself. You miss the opportunity to learn something new and stay stuck in the moment.
The third and probably the worst symptom of missing self responsibility is the fact that you blame others. By doing so, you not only harm yourself but also risk getting into conflicts with others.
There is a big difference between “this is not my fault” and “this is your fault“.
If you roll the blame off yourself onto another (innocent) person, you can get them into serious troubles. This not only damages your relationship with the accused person, but in the long run, you risk not being taken seriously anymore. The worst case is, you might even face more unpleasant consequences.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions – Step by Step
Self responsibility has many advantages. It’s a skill that you can learn with practice. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to take responsibility for your life.
Step 1: Self-Reflection
The first step is to think about why you want to improve your sense of responsibility. Become aware of the advantages for you and others. Internalize in which situations you acted responsibly in the past and in which you blamed others.
Afterward, there are two tangible things you have to work on: accusations and complaints.
Accusations, no matter in what way, are always wrong. When you accuse someone, you criticize their behavior, often without knowing the exact facts. For example, the person you accuse of making a mistake will feel personally offended in most cases. This often leads to poor communication and mistrust.
Why are accusations harmful to your self responsibility? Accusing others is a bad habit or sneaks in as such. This means: If you often blame other people, there is a high probability that you will pass on your own mistakes.
Complaining is also toxic to you and those around you. By complaining, you put yourself in the role of a victim. You have the feeling that things happen to you without being able to change them. This is precisely the opposite of what self responsibility stands for.
Another disadvantage of complaining is that you develop a habit of seeing things as unsolvable or impossible. If you often complain about something without changing it, you accept the situation as it is.
Accusations and complaining disallow transformation and prevent you from taking responsibility for your actions. If you remove these two factors from your everyday life, you will find it easier to think and act on your responsibility.
Step 2: The 5 Pillars of Self Responsibility
As mentioned above, personal responsibility is based on the following five things:
Fairness is essential to avoid accusing others of things for which they aren’t responsible nor guilty. If you treat others fairly, you will be less likely to blame them for your problems or mistakes.
This helps you to take self responsibility.
The second pillar of self responsibility is honesty. Honesty towards others, but above all, you should be honest with yourself. Should you find yourself in a situation where you made a mistake, ask yourself: “Why did things turn out the way they did? Was I the reason for it, and did I have control over the outcome of the situation?”
Through self-reflection, you ensure that you are honest with yourself. If you are the reason for any mistake, then own up to it. The feeling of being honest with yourself makes it much more comfortable.
Courage is also an important component when it comes to self responsibility. Many see mistakes as weaknesses, which is why it takes courage to admit them. However, if you see errors as a chance to learn something new, rather than weakness, you will find it easier to take responsibility for them.
You should also learn to face your fears, regardless of personal responsibility. If you establish a habit of dealing with fears (ideally you meet them), fear will disappear.
If you are self responsible, you treat others with respect. You accept them for who they are, but more importantly, you respect yourself and your decisions and stand up for them.
You also respect the excellent performance of others and appreciate them for it.
The fifth and last component is responsibility. You must be aware that your actions will always have an impact on you and your environment.
It’s your responsibility if a problem results from your actions. The same applies to achievements. Being aware of this responsibility is not enough. You must also be active and accept it.
Once you master these five pillars, fairness, honesty, courage, respect and responsibility, you will understand what it means to take self responsibility.
Step 3: Regularity
Earlier in this article, we described that accusations and complaints are bad habits that sneak into your life quickly. However, this can only happen if you accuse people or complain regularly.
As you may know, regularity is the key to habits. In this context, it means that if you want to learn how to take self responsibility, you have to be doing it regularly.
Here is a simple exercise that you can apply in everyday life:
The next time you find yourself in a crisis, for example, when you break a deadline at work. Ask yourself: “Why didn’t I meet the deadline?“
List the reasons and build a cause-effect chain. Maybe the deadline wasn’t planned realistically from the beginning on? If so, why didn’t you communicate it in time? Who is responsible that the delivery didn’t take place? You, as the person who had to deliver, or your boss who sets the deadlines?
With this little exercise, you can critically analyze each situation and take a closer look at the circumstances that led to the problem (or success).
There are many good reasons to take on personal responsibility for your life. It enables you to live a more self-determined life and to develop yourself personally.
The best thing about it: personal responsibility is a skill that you can learn.
With the 3-step instruction we provided toyou, you should be able to work on yourself and develop your self responsibility in no time.
Probably the most critical step here is that you undergo extensive self-reflection and work on your habits.
Mindfulness in everyday life can help you to identify habits more quickly and, consequently, make it easier for you to work on them.
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