Two weeks ago I posted a personal story of mine that walked you through the decade of my 20’s. You can access that here.

What I want to talk about specifically in this post is the topic of personal responsibility. I mentioned it in that post and also wrote a more specific post about that a few weeks prior that you can read here.

There's a common misconception around personal responsibility and that is that taking responsibility for one's actions and mistakes equals self-blame. That in order to take responsibility, we must blame ourselves for the behaviors and actions we have taken that we're not proud of and subsequently feel like shit.

Bottom line: this is not true. It doesn’t have to be black or white. What taking responsibility means is this:

  1. Understand YOUR part in what’s going on and what other people’s part is. (In other words: the stuff you can control versus the stuff you can't).
  2. Be curious about the feelings that come up during this time in taking responsibility. Are you angry? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Confused? Whatever it is, feel it and name it.
  3. Practice self compassion.  This may be one of the most important parts. You will learn nothing in your personal development journey by beating yourself up for what has happened.
  4. Take action around the things you want and are ready to take action on to help you move forward.

For example: In the story I told earlier this month, I talked about the break-up of my first marriage and subsequent toxic relationship afterwards. The men I had been with had not been good to me. When I was out of those relationships and looking back, I took responsibility for the things I could control, such as:

  • Staying in relationships when my intuition told me to get out
  • Believing I was not worthy of a better relationship
  • Isolating myself in my friendships and not really talking about what I was feeling
  • Trying to change my partners instead of working on myself

All of this doesn’t change the fact that they acted like assholes to me. That still is a fact. But, looking at MY PART is important in being able to change MYself. But, the trajectory doesn’t need to fall into the realm of blaming myself and beating myself up for all of that. Which, trust me, I have done. I even wrote myself a letter about it, apologizing.

Hopefully this clears things up. The bottom line is to just be aware when you cross the line from taking responsibility for yourself into self-blame and beating yourself up for it.


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