“Nina, you share so much about changing and growth and flourishing. What would you say is top of the list?”
Such a great question! The answer is both simple (taking responsibility for your life and its outcomes) and complex (understanding how self awareness and self management combine with responsibility.) But it’s worth the time and energy if you’re serious about moving forward with your life – and it’s always beneficial to learn more about how we tick.
Self awareness is essentially understanding the positives and negatives of:
- your drives
- your values
- your strengths and weaknesses
- your attitudes
- your habits
- your needs and desires
- your emotional responses – to your own actions and others’ actions
By being totally honest with with yourself, recognising what works and what needs to be improved, you can act from a position of strength. This builds personal power, boosts self esteem and elevates your effectiveness personally and professionally. You can make good decisions, respond positively to circumstances and set meaningful and achievable goals.
Being able to deal with your emotions, no matter how difficult the situation, by:
- not acting impulsively
- not immediately looking for someone else to blame
- acknowledging your feelings (and those of others) but not allowing feelings to get the upper hand
- thinking before you respond
- communicating clearly and calmly
- staying focused on what’s important
- looking for the best next step
Self regulation is basically self control to bring about the best result. With this self control we are well-fortified. Without it self-control we are vulnerable. tweet this
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” [Proverbs 25:28 ESV]
Hiding from the truth
Andy Stanley says that, “Irresponsibility is very difficult to see in the mirror.” He’s right!
Psychologists talk about the self-serving bias which is a tactic or process used to protect or enhance self-esteem, in every area of life. Basically, it means that we take credit for good outcomes and blame others for bad outcomes – regardless of how we ourselves contributed to the outcome.
“For example, a student who attributes earning a good grade on an exam to their own intelligence and preparation but attributes earning a poor grade to the teacher’s poor teaching ability or unfair test questions is exhibiting the self-serving bias.” [Wikipedia]
And it’s not helpful in the long term because it deludes us into being less than we can be, when we refuse or fail to take responsibility for our actions. It can also make us unpopular with friends, family and colleagues.
And yes – it is tough to face up to – I’ve had many moments of crying into my pillow when I accepted that I’d played a part in many of the things that had gone wrong in my life. But it’s also incredibly liberating and empowering.
Help yourself help yourself 🙂
It was totally worth the effort I made to overcome the bit of me that wanted to play the victim or the martyr. Like forgiveness, taking responsibility is a huge gift that you give yourself – the benefits are incredible!
Thank God that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past – every day offers you a fresh start and an opportunity to plonk yourself firmly in the driving seat of your life and where it’s headed.
When you fully accept that you are in charge of the outcomes of your life and how you react to circumstances, then you can truly move forward. tweet this
Areas of responsibility:
- Your words
- Your decisions
- Your actions
- Your health
- Your finances
- Your career
- Your talents, skills and gifts
- Your life
- Your spiritual life
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” [Robert Schiller]
Once we get a grip on self regulation and responsibility, we open the door to amazing changes.
You will feel more motivated and more excited about the present and the future. You will feel more able to deal with life. You can plan and set goals. You can stop blaming others (even if it is their fault, deal with the situation) and you’ll know that if problems come against you, you’ll find a way through.
I love the following verse – its sums up everything in this post.
“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Galatians 6: 5 MSG)
Any questions or comments? Share them both or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on twitter 🙂