Taking Responsibility: A Choice We Make

We often speak about responsibility as something heavy and in many ways negative. Dreamingly we think back at our childhood days, when things were supposedly much easier, we were free from responsibilities, and we had parents who took all decisions for us. As we grow older, we get more and more so called responsibilities (which don’t always go hand in hand with actually being responsible), and what we usually refer to is work, bills, family, relationships, and all these decisions we now need to make on our own. Every now and then, when faced with a tricky choice, it is certainly easy to wish that we could just run away from it; become 5 years old again and have mummy make the choice for us.

However, there is another aspect to responsibility, less referred to, but according to me more important. Growing older and more responsible is not all about getting a job, paying your bills, and fullfilling your duties, it’s about taking responsibility for yourself and your own actions. The major difference, as I see it, from being a child versus an adult in this subject, is that as an adult, regardless of where we have our parents at this point, we no longer have anyone else to fall back on when we fuck up, nobody else to blaim, nobody to depend on to take care of us. So sometimes we end up finding replacements for our parents in that role.

I noticed, that regardless of how old some people get, and regardless of how well they fulfill the duties they feel they need to fulfill as a grown up, it is not necessarily that common that these same people take full responsibility for themselves and their lives. When something goes wrong, or we get into a fight, it is easy to only see the faults of others, blaming that other person for the situation, as if we ourselves never did anything wrong. Often we get so caught up in all this blaming and pointing of fingers, that we forget to take a step back and take a look at ourselves and the true intentions of others in the big picture. More often than we like to admit to ourselves, we are just as much, or even more part of the situations we end up in. In the same manner we often blame our moods, our life satisfaction, and our outcomes on what ever we feel is most handy. It is as if we, still as adults, need a parent that can take the hit for us, so that we can distance the responsibility from ourselves.

The biggest aspect of responsibility, according to me, is to take control over your own life. Many of us are born with the opportunity to become almost anything we want. The opportunities are endless, and they are out there waiting for us. The only thing between you and those opportunities, is YOU. You are the person that will take you to places, you are the person that will take chances and make choices. You, and only You, are responsible for making you happy. We want other people to make us happy, we keep chasing happiness in people and things, but we forget that happiness is not something that can be given to us by anyone or anything, it is something we choose and create for ourselves. We want everyone else to change into what we want them to be, thinking that if they change we will be happier. In fact, it probably doesn’t matter all that much what people around us do or don’t, if you are not happy it’s probably you who need to change something (and it might just be your surrounding or friends), not them.

We keep dreaming about being young and free again, and we keep reflecting this dream in our grown up selfs by choosing to ignore the responsibilities we don’t feel comfortable with. When things are too hard to deal with, it’s easy to make it somebody else’s problem. The question we need to ask ourselves when giving away our responsibilities is, what do we gain from it? I have asked myself that question a few times, and my conclusion is that the only thing we gain is comfortability. It’s comfortable and easy to just stay as we are, not take responsibility, not make difficult choices, and not make big changes. To do the opposite, and dare to make those choices and changes, and take full responsibility for our actions, is hard, sometimes very hard, but the question is, what do we have to gain? I feel like the answer to this question is that we may have a lot more to gain from taking the harder road.

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