Start taking responsibility for your actions.
How to take responsibility for your life. The most important aspect of taking responsibility is for you to acknowledge that your life is your responsibility no one else’s.
Most of us do not like taking responsibility for our decisions or deeds. So, what do we do? We consult others and ask, "What do you think I should do?" Then we can blame the other person for our decision. This is one way of manipulating others to take responsibility for our actions.
Wayne Dyer in his book, Erroneous Zones, gives a few good examples how a patient tries to influence his psychiatrist to advise him to do this or that so that he could mentally put the blame on his psychiatrist for his failures.
When you start taking responsibility, you have to give up your favorite villains like elders, parents and friends who impose their suggestions on you, people who impose their ideas on you and people who put you down by saying "Oh no, you cannot do it. You are not educated enough. You do not have enough money. You do not have enough experience. You are too old, etc."
We have to start taking responsibility for our own actions and even for what happens to us, even if it is a rear end collision. If we are fat, depressed, inadequate, it is our fatness, depression and inadequacy and not anyone else's. The possession is ours. Only we can get rid of them. They are inside us. Should we not take responsibility for the blinders we are wearing, our tensions, our perceptions, our beliefs and our prejudices? What others have done to us is minor compared to what we have done to ourselves. If we want to grow, you have to start taking responsibility for what you are doing. Intellectualizing can impair our emotional functioning.
When we get angry, we blame others for our anger. That makes us feel better. Then we do not have to admit that these bad feelings and thoughts are part of ourselves. I am good. It is you who are bad.
Think of a person you hate most in the world. Conjure him up. Feel how disgusted you are in his presence and how you want to get away from him. Get all your feelings about him out. Do you hate him because he is a double dealer, dishonest, dirty, crooked, a cheat, mean, cruel, disloyal, always angry, gossips about you, cheap, drinks too much, and lazy.
Think about a person who knows more about you than anyone else. If there is no such person, invent one. This person knows all the embarrassing things you have done. He has the goods on you, the real dope and all your secrets. What are the worst things he can say about you? Think about it and write it down.
Now take all the things you hate about yourself and compare them with what you hate about the person you loathed. How much of this list overlaps? Can it be that both the lists are virtually the same person?
What you are protecting yourself from in both instances is facing the parts of yourself that you hate in others, what you fear or lack in yourself. You feel more comfortable seeing your faults as belonging to someone else. Which parts of the list have nothing at all to do with you?
No matter how many forces there may be which influence your life; there is always a part which you have control over. You can increase that control if you decide what it is that you want out of your learning, work, or play. You will be more powerful and less likely to be a victim. You will not be easily seduced into exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage. You will no longer be vulnerable to being sold a bill of goods by a passing stranger. It is your life, not hers or his or theirs. It is yours.
Frank Crane said, "Responsibility is the thing that people dread most of all. Yet it is the one thing in the world that develops us, gives us manhood, womanhood, and fiber." John Dewey said, "There can be no stable and balanced development of mind apart from the assumption of responsibility" “Taking Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power" (Josiah Holland).
To escape responsibility, we ascribe all personal qualities to heredity and environment. Another cop out is "I cannot help it. It is my nature. It is my make-up. I have been doing it every since I was a child, I cannot change now. An old dog cannot be taught new tricks.
Your belief systems, your preconceived ideas are like blinders. You are responsible for your blinders. If you wear them red, you see danger where you look.
For all our actions, we had our choice. When we make a choice, we have to start taking responsibility for that choice.
Some try to make you angry, but making yourself angry is your choice. You do not have to react to something someone says or does. I am not saying that you will not get angry if prodded but I can say that you do not have to give that person the power to control your emotions. Your emotions are yours and not for others to manipulate. The best way to avoid being manipulated is to recognize the act of others.
For example, someone might cut right in front of you and get you upset, the more it happens to you, the more you get upset. Why? Because your resistance, to people cutting in front of you is creating a force which will cause its actualization. When you stop resisting, such actions it will happen less frequently. It might happen but one thing is certain, you will not be upset and therefore may not even notice it happening.
The story of Zachias is typical. He was a dwarf and did not want to be seen by Jesus because he was a tax collector. It was customary that tax collectors grabbed more than the stipulated tax and pocketed the excess. This is immoral and Zachias knew it. So, he did not want to be seen by Jesus. Therefore, he did not come to the front of the crowd. He got into the tree and hid himself among its branches but he was afraid, "Will Jesus see me?" What happened? When Jesus, was walking along noticing the needs of the people thronging to him, reached the tree, he looked up and said, "Zachias, come down. I will dine with you tonight."
Job said the same thing, namely "The thing I feared most has come upon me." Zachias' agitation, his desire to see Jesus and his fear that Jesus would see him was actually causing the very air to literally vibrate. So we are creating these negative events by concentrating on them. Therefore, take responsibility.
In "The Autobiography of a Yogi", we read that Yogananda left his door open for the thief to walk in and take the cabbages away from under the cot where they were hidden. The thief did not take the money on top of the cot because Yogananda was more concerned about the cabbages. His thought prodded the thief toward the cabbages.
My paternal family is known to be intolerant, impatient, easily provoked and explosive. My mother used to tease my father saying, "I can make you set fire to the house right now." He recognized what she meant and would reply, "I am not such a fool as to be manipulated by you."
So, recognize your weakness. Do not fall for manipulation,
Even when our car is hit from behind, we have to take responsibility. If we had watched, we would have known that the one following us was too close and we should not apply brakes suddenly or we should warn him of that possibility by applying the brakes momentarily and releasing them.
Whatever happens to us happens because we make it happen.
If we are sick, over sleep, dream a bad dream, quarrel with our girlfriend of boyfriend, we make these things happen. In fact, there are no accidents. Start taking responsibility for what happens to you.
About the Author
Dr. Simon is a retired research microbiologist, philanthropist, philosopher and author. Among his publications is the Missing Piece to Paradise and the Philosopher’s Notebook
Visit his website at http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/psimon/book2.htm