In the first person singular
By: Sladjana Pavic, psychological counselor
Personal responsibility implies accepting responsibility for one’s choices and one’s own life, which arises from them. It is accepting yourself and creating your life. In everyday speech, it usually sounds like “It’s your own fault”, as if we are responsible only for our mistakes, but personal responsibility is not only in the role of prosecutor, judge and jury. We are responsible for everything that happens to us in life.
From a psychological perspective, there are two arguments that point to the importance of developing personal responsibility in each individual. First – developed personal responsibility prevents someone from being in a sacrificial role; and others – those who take care of personal boundaries and needs prevent the possibility of others using it or diminishing its value.
Personal responsibility, as a systemic phenomenon, always affects relationships between people, the relationship between partners or the relationship between parent and child. If we are not able to take personal responsibility, we transfer it more to our partner, or if the parents are less willing to take it, there is a stronger feeling of guilt in the children. Feelings of guilt destroy parents’ self-esteem and make children feel burdened.
What is often seen at the beginning of psychotherapeutic work is the inability of people to take full responsibility for what happened to them. They most often call a psychotherapist because they feel betrayed, rejected, betrayed… This is a defense mechanism that makes it easier for them to blame colleagues, bosses, partners or politicians for their misfortune. In this way, people project their dissatisfaction on others without facing the fact that the key to change is in themselves. Experience has taught me that only when clients begin to question themselves, not people’s actions, does the process of change begin and clients begin to speak to feel better (Confucius said that what is inside attacks you more than external things). People around you will do different things, but you choose how you feel.
We often ask ourselves how we will proceed, what is our criterion. I suggest this: When we choose what is good for us, others and the situation (note: do not change the order) – everything is fine.
Being responsible means taking care of yourself and understanding that every act, every action – has consequences. Also, psychotherapist Albert Ellis emphasized that it is easier for many people to avoid certain responsibilities than to deal with them. We are responsible. We are! We are responsible even when we do not take responsibility, because we have given up the possibility to independently create our own life, the responsibility to avoid life. Sometimes it’s easier to whine, blame someone else, find a good excuse. We all do that sometimes. The trouble is when it becomes a mold through which we shape our reality and thus ruin the quality of our life.
What should be the only thing in life we know we are responsible for? Enjoying your own life. Of course, this is not a script for a fairy tale. Personal responsibility is both accepting failure and moving forward. Life is not a straight path, in life you will encounter both a dead end and a landslide. And what do we do? One option is to withdraw, surrender; the other is to be brave and overcome the obstacle. Accepting personal responsibility is not a guarantee of avoiding failure, but an opportunity to learn from life’s adversities. “It is human to fall, it is satanic not to rise.”
So always start from yourself, and in good and evil start from the first person singular – I.
Personal responsibility is the greatest gift we have received in life, our natal chart, “a secret map of which stars to look at”
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