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Why take responsibility?

What is the point of taking responsibility? So might many a reluctant teenager respond to such an implicit demand of a parent. But it’s a good question.

The idea that we are each responsible for our own lives flies in the face of our experience, whereby historically others called the shots in our lives, like parents did! When we feel hurt by the actions of another, for example, it can feel like the other person caused it. But, as pointed out in the last posting, it is us who feel the feelings. It is us who are reacting, re-enacting old memories, often from childhood, habitually ingrained in the consciousness. Others might react differently to the same event or behaviour. Thus Fritz Perls said the word as “response-ability”, our ability to respond to our own processing.

So taking responsibility can be more truthful. It can reflect what is actually going on.

Another point is that it works, it’s a pragmatic response. Or it can be said to be useful. Taking ownership puts you in the driving seat of your life. You are the one who is responsible for how you think, feel and act. You then have choices and you can choose to respond differently. Also it has the great benefit of starting the process of letting go of the unhelpful negative emotions that are getting in the way of a fulfilled life.

But the reluctant teenager (or an adult) won’t get that. Why not? Well, he or she would have to give up on a drama that they are heavily invested in. And also an adult too. Becoming aware that there is something going on that is not working is a major shift to make.

As has been argued a lot in these pages, it is the most powerful, creative and life-changing shift one can make.

If you want to.