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First Key to Self Mastery: Response-Ability
In the previous article I showed how you can skillfully communicate negative emotions in a way that deepens your relationships, instead of creating havoc as it usually happens. Today I am going to focus on one of three keys to self mastery - owning the responsibility. The trainers at our University all agree - if we were able to change only one thought pattern in the world, it would have to be giving back to everyone full responsibility for their actions, thoughts and emotions. It's that important.
What is responsibility and why is it important? Response-ability is very simply your ability to respond to the world. Whenever you claim responsibility, your claim your power to do, to influence, to act, to change. Whenever you deny responsibility, you deny your power to respond, leaving yourself powerless. For example, if you say: "He made me angry," - you imply that the anger was creating in you by him. If you say: "The leaky faucet irritates me," - you imply that the irritation was created in you by the dripping water. In plain language you are saying that how you feel was caused by someone or something else. These shifts of responsibility away from yourself are perversions of reality (a more technical term is distortion of reality). Another name for shifting responsibility is blaming.
Blaming exists because it is an effective way to manipulate people. The often unconscious logic of blaming goes like this: "I feel bad, you are responsible for making me feel bad, now you are responsible for making me feel good. In any case, you owe me a favor." Clearly spelled out this way it becomes obvious that blaming is just a power game. There is also an additional piece of helplessness to it: "Since you caused my feelings, they are out of my control. I am helpless to change anything and no effort is required from me." So, blaming is a way to preserve status quo and to transfer all responsibility for change to another party. Highly manipulative and effective in the short run. Highly disempowering in the long run.
Seems simple? Then think how many times in the last week have you said to yourself: "This is annoying" or "This is upsetting" or a similar phrase? Denying response-ability every time. Next time try this phrase instead: "I am choosing to feel annoyed" or "I am deciding to feel upset". If someone in your presence says: "She is pissing me off", help them out by asking: "Why are you deciding to feel pissed off?" Be careful with such phrasing though, many people are so stuck in the constant cycles of blaming-helplessness, that they will not even understand what you mean at first.
I would like to start an empowering mental virus of personal responsibility. Here is how it works. First, forward this article to the people you spend most of your time with - friends, family, colleagues. Then, after they have read it, agree with each other to call out the refusal of personal responsibility, whenever you notice it. So, if you hear each other say something that denies responsibility, call it out: "You are choosing to be powerless right now." See how fast you learn to notice and re-claim your response-ability to the world.
You’ve just read TIP #81 FOR CREATING AN EXTRAORDINARY AND MEANINGFUL LIFE brought to you by Holographic University. To get the next Tip visit us at:
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May You Be Happy!
- Arman Darini, Ph.D.
About the Author: Arman Darini, Ph.D. is the director of Holographic University, the author of weekly Tips for Creating an Extraordinary and Meaningful Life, and a certified international NLP Trainer. As the leader of a dynamic team of Life Trainers and Coaches, Arman's motto is "I don't believe in your limitations". To learn more about Arman, visit ArmanDarini.com