What does Responsibility mean to you? To me, it has always had connotations of obligation, accountability, ownership, and being loaded with a generous pinch of judgment and self-blame or liability. It conjures up images of my childhood with my mother saying: “You need to take responsibility for your actions, Lisa”. It was a good thing to learn: to not blame others and to realize how much control we have over our actions and our lives, even if I didn’t want to own that responsibility all the time.
“You take responsibility for your life and a terrible thing happens… no one to blame!”
It was at a seminar (Success and You) a couple of weekends ago, that I fully grasped the absolute power behind what taking responsibility can mean. They referred to responsibility as your ‘ability to respond”. WOW! That’s a pretty cool way of looking at it! So by taking responsibility, you are acknowledging your ability to respond. You are not a passive recipient in the world but an active entity! Up until then I had always taken responsibility (or tried to) but did it somewhat begrudgingly! I loved the freedom and power that came with seeing it in this new light: responsibility: your “response ability” or “ability to respond”.
So how does it apply to real life?
I was chatting to a friend about it and he shared a wonderful story that perfectly illustrated the concept. He attended a talk, in which Alan Pease (the body language guy) revealed that he had had cancer and was now in remission. Alan was talking about his experience of cancer and shared with the group his empowering yet somewhat confronting view on it. He said he believed that he got cancer because he did something wrong. He was really clear on this and really empowered by this belief explaining that by acknowledging that, he could learn from it and change it. If he accepted that he had done something wrong, and he could find out what it was, he was embracing that he had control over what happened next and he was giving himself the power to change and heal, in his case, recover fully and prevent relapse (pretty important goals for cancer sufferers). He was acknowledging that he could do something differently, that he still had an ability to respond. By taking responsibility for his condition, he regained some control of the situation, the ball was back in his court. By taking responsibility for your health, your life, your actions, you take back your power, you are free to respond and move forward in any way you choose immediately thereafter. You are claiming just how much power you have over what happened or what happens next. By not taking responsibility or holding others responsible, you give your power away, you are effectively saying I have no control over that, which leaves you powerless to change and grow or influence others and circumstances.
It would appear that taking responsibility takes you to the point for maximum growth. It is so rich with potential and so powerful! Here’s to taking back your power!
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