Taking Responsibility

This is a blog in “The skill of living a fulfilling and happy life” series of blog posts. Check out the link above for a summary as well as links to the other posts in the series.

The first step in any transformation is taking responsibility for yourself and the change you want to happen in your life. You have to want to change your life so bad that you commit to doing it no matter what. Your desire for change needs to become stronger than any fears or excuses you have.

Don’t blame others.

Yes, we do not live in an isolated world. Yes, there will always be other people around you that effect you.

You always have a choice. A choice to either select people that are around you or, if you can’t do that, a choice of how you react to those who are around you.

Your brain does this funny thing between an event and your reaction to an event. It tells you a story. Most of the time, the story-telling happens so fast you barely even notice it. It is the story that makes you react to those who are around you. Change the story and you can change your reaction. To do that, you need to have a very high level of self-awareness.

If you want more information about this story-telling that goes on in your brain I really recommend the Crucial Conversations book. Not only does this book go into the science of how we react to events and people it also has invaluable information on how to communicate with people, especially when having difficult conversations, in a productive way.

At some point in my life, when I embarked on a journey of deep transformation, I had to really look at the people I most often socialised with and remove the toxic people from my life. They brought my energy down and didn’t support me on my way to a better, healthier life. I’ve lost a few friends on the way but I have gained my life and I’ve gained new friends that are much better for me in terms of support.

Don’t blame events and your situation.

It is the same story with events as it is with people. If you can change it, change it. If you can’t change it, change that story that you tell yourself.

Why is it important to not blame others or events in your life? When you blame others you automatically give away your power. You go into the state of a victim. As long as you blame others for where you are or how you feel you will never change. It’s rather simple. You and only you are responsible for how you feel in your life, and it is especially true if you are surrounded by toxic people or a toxic environment because it is exactly when you need your power.

Taking responsibility for your life gives you the power to change it.

Here are some tips that can help you do it:

  • Whenever you start blaming events, people or your situation for everything going wrong in your life have a look at how you are contributing to this yourself.
  • Become aware of the stories you tell yourself in your brain
  • Analyse your relationships and see if you can identify any toxic people in your surroundings. Remove those people from your life or limit the time you spend with them.
  • Identify a situation that is causing you grief and write down 10 ways you can change it. When you are writing this list make sure you focus on things you can change, not things others should do.

It’s also very important to remember that taking responsibility doesn’t mean shifting blame from external to internal. This is a road to much grief for yourself. Taking responsibility means identifying situations that need change and just doing it. It is vital to not shift the blame to yourself. Taking responsibility is about recognising that only you are in charge of your life and how you react to it. It’s about taking positive action, not developing new negative thought patterns.

I hope you find these tips helpful. How have you taken responsibility for your life recently? Let me know!

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