How To Be Fully Responsible For Your Life and Stop Giving Your Power Away

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How to be fully responsible for your life

Accepting responsibility is the foundation of high self-esteem, self-respect, and personal pride. Accepting personal responsibility lies at the core of the personality of every outstanding man or woman. – Brian Tracy

Are you fully responsible for your life?

The more responsibility you take for your life, the greater your chances of success are. Each time you refuse to take responsibility for your life you give your power away to circumstances or people.

As you start taking full responsibility in all areas of your life, you’ll become the creator of your life rather than the victim of your environment. Taking full responsibility will also allow you to grow by giving you the opportunity to look at what’s not working and make the necessary changes in your life.

Ultimately, you’re responsible for everything including your attitude, your emotions, your career, your happiness or the quality of your relationships to name a few. To make changes in your life you must then decide to choose the way you feel, behave, act and react to your environment.

Now, let’s go over some of the things you’re responsible for.

Accepting the reality

Your job is to accept the truth without beating yourself up. Blaming yourself and playing the victim is a denial of truth. It’s a way to escape your responsibility. You cannot change yourself unless you accept reality as it is. You’re fully responsible for accepting reality.

You are fully responsible for your attitude

It is hard to convince people sometimes that the world experience is the reflection of their attitude. They take the attitude that if people would only be nice to them they’d be nice in return. They are like the person sitting in the front of a cold stove, waiting for the heat. Until they put in the fuel, there not gonna be any heat. It is up to them to act first. It has to start somewhere. Let it begin with us. – Earl Nightingale, Lead The Field

Working on your attitude is one of the most important things you can do for your personal growth. If you’re like most people, you leave the house with a neutral attitude every morning. You don’t choose your attitude, and, as a result, you let your environment determine your attitude.

If you happen to be surrounded by cheerful people, you’ll be in a great mood and that’s wonderful. On the other hand, if you’re surrounded by pessimistic people, their negative attitude will become poison.

When you refusing to choose your attitude, you disempower yourself; you become a puppet who react to his environment. Instead of influencing others, you’re being influenced.

You might say to yourself “Well, that person is not smiling at me. he’s not friendly. Why should I be friendly?”

Here is the problem: That person might be thinking the exact same thing about you. Stop giving your power away, choose your attitude and be the scriptwriter of your life.

You are fully responsible for your emotions

An emotion has a very short life span. It is like a momentary ripple or wave on the surface of your Being. – Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now, A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment

Happiness, sadness, stress, hopelessness and any other emotions don’t actually exist out there. They only exist in your mind. It’s your responsibility to master your emotions.
  • Do you dwell on the past? It’s your responsibility to do something about it.
  • Do you worry about the future? It’s up to you to change that.
  • Are you getting triggered? It’s your job to find out why and do the necessary work on yourself.
To take control of our emotions many spiritual teachers stress the importance of:
  • living in the now (the only reality that exists)
  • acceptance (stop resisting and fully accepting the reality)

Of course, you can’t eradicate negative emotions and live in a constant state of joy. But you should strive to master your emotions to the best of your ability. That’s only when you become fully responsible for your emotions that you can start improving your current situation.

For instance, once you realize stress isn’t linked to a specific situation, but to the way you interpret that situation, you’re now in the position to do something about it. (see Stop Worrying, Start Living – 7 Practical Tips to Overcome Worries).

Similarly, getting angry doesn’t have to be an automatic response to someone who insults you. You have a choice. When you get angry you give your power away to the offender. You make him or her more important that he or she is. Sure, you might choose to insult that person back, but you have nothing to gain by doing that. You’re wasting your time and your energy. It shows how insecure you are inside. A person with high self-esteem would feel less the need to be respected or approved of.

As the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus wrote, “What is insulting is not the person who abuses you or hits you, but the judgment about them that they are insulting. Another person will not do you harm unless you wish it” (see Nothing Has Ever Upset You!)

It is not to say that you should never react. Sometimes you must speak up, but you can do it in a polite and non-aggressive way. It is especially true when you feel disrespected at home or at work for instance. You want to avoid feeling resentment towards people you see often. Thus, if you have something to say, say it. Don’t spend any of your time resenting people who aren’t there. While you’re worrying, they may be having a good not even knowing you’re angry at them.

As Nelson Mandela, once said, “Resentment is like drinking poisons, and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

The bottom line is that when you don’t speak up, you often build resentment. That’s why you must speak up. So, speak up to let people know how you feel and avoid insulting people, being sarcastic, or taking revenge.

How I deal with my anger:

  • I acknowledge I have a feeling of anger and focus on how it feels in my body: Focusing on my emotions allows me to dissociate from them. I can then analyze why I am feeling that emotion.
  • I reframe the situation: I understand that they may have some problems. Maybe they lost their job or broke up with their boyfriend/girlfriend. Or perhaps someone died in their family. Then, I transform my anger into pity or compassion. When people get angry at me, I try not to take it personally. I happened to be there at the wrong time; I’m the one with whom they chose to let off some steam.
  • I see myself as too important: I refuse to spend any time or energy reacting to people who don’t deserve it.
  • I try to understand why I feel offended: If someone criticizes me and I feel offended, it generally means there is some truth in their message. I try to identify the part of truth. It could also be something my subconscious mind perceives as true even though it isn’t. For instance, I tend to believe that no matter how hard I work, it’s not enough. So, if someone were to say I’m lazy, I would likely feel offended. Not because they are right (I do work hard), but because my subconscious mind believes it.

You are fully responsible for your happiness

Taking responsibility for my happiness is empowering. It places my life back in my own hands. Ahead of taking this responsibility, I may imagine it will be a burden. What I discover is that it sets me free. – Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field

I often heard people saying “I will be happy when…” or “If only I had… I would be happy”. No, you probably won’t. Even winning the lottery is unlikely to make you happy. The only way you can be happier is by cultivating happiness. No external things will significantly increase your happiness. Don’t let your happiness depends on others. As Nathaniel Branden, author of The Six Pillar of Self-Esteem wrote, “One of the characteristics of immaturity is the belief that it is someone else’s job to make me happy”.

Some people manage to be happy in situations you won’t even believe. On the other hand, other people who seem to have all the reasons to be happy are chronically depressed. (Watch the two inspirational videos: Nick Vujicic, No Arm No Legs No Worries and Alice Herz Sommer, Holocaust Survivor, Cancer Survivor).

It is true that our happiness is partially determined by our genetics. Yet, we still have ample room to increase our level of happiness.

The bottom line is that to experience more joy, you must work on your mindset and learn to see good in people and situations. You must also practice gratitude on a daily basis.

You are fully responsible for your career

When you accept complete responsibility for your life, you begin to view yourself as self-employed, no matter who signs your paycheck. You see yourself as the president of your own personal service corporation. You see yourself as an entrepreneur heading a company with one employee: you. – Brian Tracy

You are fully responsible for creating more value for your company and for society as a whole. You are responsible for making yourself more valuable by:
  • Reading materials in your field of expertise
  • Increasing your productivity
  • Learning new skills
  • Participating in training sessions
  • Working on your communication skills
  • Increasing your level of self-awareness
  • and so on.
Your company might be very supportive but ultimately it’s always your responsibility to grow.

You are fully responsible for your relationships

No succes in public life can compensate for failure in the home. – Benjamin Disraeli

There are two people in a relationship and if you are one of them you have a part of responsibility. When you listen to someone complaining about his or her partner, it always seems as if he or she didn’t have any part of responsibility. That’s seldom the case.

Below are some examples of things you are responsible for in a relationship:

  • Understanding women/men psychology: You should study women/men psychology: Many arguments can be avoided by understanding some fundamental differences between man and women.
  • Nurturing the relationship: It’s always shocking for me to see the number of couples complaining about their marriage while making no or little effort to improve it. Relationship, like anything else, requires effort.
  • Communicating clearly your needs and how you feel to your partner: You are fully responsible for telling your partner what you want and how you feel. By failing to do so you risk building up resentment over time. And this can be a relationship killer. Practice communicating openly with your partner about things bothering you. I have to admit that it’s something I struggle with myself. I expect women to know how I feel and what I want without clearly communicating my needs or feelings. By focusing too much on my partner’s needs and failing to communicate mine, I (secretly) build up resentments towards my partner. Because she doesn’t know my needs, she can’t do much about it.
  • Being clear on your values and expectations: It is your responsibility to know your values and to stand behind them. Don’t try to change your partner’s values. Don’t try to change your values to adopt your partner’s values. We are attracted to people who are like us. If you have no interest in materialistic things you might want to avoid marrying a materialistic woman. A while ago, I was talking to a Japanese man who was very sad about the way is marriage was going. He regretted not having communicated more with his wife before getting married. He discovered after a while that they didn’t have the same values; they didn’t want the same thing in life. Don’t let that happen to you. Be clear on your values and expectations and share them with your partner.

One thing you can do is to determine the values you want to live by in your relationship and to write down a mission statement together with your partner. It will help you clarify what you expect out of your relationship. Each time you have an argument, go back to that statement and see whether this argument is worth having. Then, refocus on what matters to both of you.

I could go on and on on the importance of being fully responsible for your life but let me stop here. If you were to remember just one thing from this article, remember this:

The more you take responsibility for your life, the more power you have to change it.

What about you? Starting from today, what will you take full responsibility for? Leave me a comment below.

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