What does taking responsibility mean to you? Does it sound like it should be a four letter word? It did for me most of my life growing up. That phrase was thrown around my house like a manipulation. You’re not doing what I told you to do – you need to take responsibility! Not having remorse for our actions, and apologizing without meaning it. Yeah, that’s really taking responsibility, not. Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this. In my mid/late twenties I started writing a book titled The Complete Bitch. I mean who better to write a book than a girl who was every type of bitch that I was writing about. While the book was to be a funny coffee table type, it still managed to piss me off so I quit writing it. Who likes to feel unable to connect with kindness? Obviously it wasn’t in my destiny to stay a ‘B’, thank God!
In order for my life to change I’d go from an unapologetic child, manipulative teen/adult, master ‘B’ to a woman who is honest, apologizes with heart and takes responsibility. So let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of those two words and break it down further into 3 words. Taking Response Ability, or as I like to say, the ability to respond with acceptance.
I know that I like to feel able, all the time. What about you? I’m not sure if I asked for a raise of hands for those that feel unable, I would actually get any takers. But lets really admit it, sometimes we just are not capable of returning that text, email, voice mail, borrowed shirt, or able to play with our pet when they want. It’s a fact of life and a balance. Without those moments of being unable, we wouldn’t really know what our abilities and limits are. So embrace the moments you feel like you’re letting yourself or others down and strive to be able next time. After-all life is a journey of learning. Own it. Accept your unacceptable (another way of taking responsibility).
Responding is sometimes very hard to do in the present moment. Who has ever gotten off the phone or out of a meeting with the boss and then thought of everything you really wanted or wished you could have said or not said? I’ll raise my hand to that one. Just yesterday I got a brand new perspective on part of my psychic ability shown to me and I wasn’t sure how to respond. Honestly I got a bit defensive because I was emotionally involved and wanted to point the finger at the other person for my stuff. When in reality I was shown a perspective that still allowed for an unknown within a known and that made me uncomfortable. I should have been grateful for that in the moment, but I wasn’t until later in the day.
Now we come to the sometimes toughest part of taking responsibility – surrender, acceptance, and since we’re at it lets add compassion to the list. I know for me when I have the ability to respond to someone or a situation with compassion, I’ve become fully present and representing myself with honor, trust and grace. Or I’ve owned it and said, yeah, that’s my part. I was selfish, self-seeking, judgmental, or fearful. When we become present (taking a couple of breaths in the moment can help) and accept ourselves for who we fully are, we can respond in a manner where we’re able to say what we mean, mean what we say, without saying it mean.