Having blogged for many years about fostering and raising children I have more recently looked at ways in which adults and young people can achieve happiness and contentment. Last time we looked at taking responsibility for our lives and this time I would look at what can be achieved when we do so.
Taking responsibility empowers us. Once we are in charge we can do anything we wish – even fly to the moon, as long as we train to be an astronaut first. We can decide what we want to do with our lives – where we want to be in a week, a month, a year, ten years – and go for it. Many years ago when I was struggling as a writer, receiving more rejection slips than cheques, I was inspired by the maxim - We are only limited by the extent of our imagination. It is so true, and by taking responsibility we empower ourselves to achieve whatever our hearts and minds desire.
Taking responsibility liberates us from the constraints of others. If we pass responsibility for our lives to others we will live in the shadow of their experiences, expectations, successes and failures, and this will result in us becoming frustrated and discontented. Once we take responsibility for our lives we are no longer beholden to the actions, attitudes or opinions of others, and a huge burden lifts from our shoulders.
Stopping the blame game
One woman, aged 34, who wrote to me was juggling family life with work and doing unpaid overtime until 6.15 most nights. She felt she was “being used” and a “slave” to everyone else, although she knew her husband loved her.
‘So I finally stopped blaming everyone else for what was wrong with my life and decided to take responsibility. I explained to my boss (nicely) that I would be leaving at 5.30 in future as I had family commitments. To my surprise he was fine about it, and said he understood and that I should have said something sooner. I then had a big chat with my husband and said I needed some “me time”. I am now having ice skating lessons on a Wednesday while my husband looks after the children. I am a better person for it.’
When we take responsibility for our lives we can also take the credit for our achievements. What a great bonus! Yes, we may be working alongside others on certain projects and our relationships will be a partnership, but whether we are working on something alone, with someone else, or in a group, any positive outcome we achieve is our responsibility.
By taking responsibility for our lives we develop as a person. We learn from our mistakes and use our past experiences to make better judgements in the future. Each new decision we make – regardless of how small or disastrous the outcome – is character forming. We will develop a strength and roundness of character we never thought possible. Others will experience and appreciate our new-found inner strength, although they won’t necessarily recognize the transition we have made. Our development as a person and therefore our new resourcefulness of character will be magnetic. Very soon we will be one of those people others come to for advice and guidance
Taking responsibility for our life allows us the satisfaction and contentment of knowing we did our best. Even if the outcome is not as we had hoped, knowing we were in control and we couldn’t have done any more gives us peace of mind.
The above is taken from my book Happy Adults, available in paperback, e-book and audio: http://po.st/HappyAdultsAudio