Life doesn’t have to be something that happens to us but something we shape and control. With the influx of events that are entirely out of our control, there are many circumstances with which we do have a say in. When experiencing hardships, one may be inclined to feel discouraged and helpless. However, it’s important to remember that you can take control of your life by taking responsibility. Although we can not control everything in life that happens to us and the ones we care for, we can maintain how we respond.
A lack of responsibility for your life may show up in the following ways: pessimistic thinking, a victimized mentality, frequent arguments, indecision, stagnancy, and codependency. When we become responsible for our lives, we notice more things going in our favor. If you want to create a better quality of life, filled with peace and joy, then you should be mindful of how you approach the way you live your life.
Do you come it with a fiery passion? Or, do you view your reality with a lackluster lens? Whatever changes you seek to experience, you must first take responsibility for your life and never put your life fully in the hands of another person. When we do this, we give other people the power and permission to steer our lives in whichever direction, usually at the expense of our progression. To start taking responsibility for your life, you should implement the following habits.
9 Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Life
1. Take Responsibility to Prioritize Yourself
To take control of your life, you first have to feel worthy of a good life to make better decisions. Some people avoid taking responsibility for their lives because they have self-limiting beliefs. Thus, they may feel as though they don’t deserve better. Remember that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. You can’t give love and support to others if you aren’t providing it for yourself. Prioritize yourself by practicing self-care and self-love activities. In loving yourself, you improve your confidence and understand that you have the final say in how you want your life to go. Self-love and self-care activities include: a five minute meditation, gardening, journaling, taking a hot bath, pampering yourself, and repeating positive daily affirmations.
2. Stop Playing the Blame Game
Although convenient, it’s a massive form of self-sabotage when we play the blame game. It’s usually relatively easy to point the finger and cast judgment towards others instead of looking at our actions. When we are hyper-focused on other people’s mistakes, we often miss learning many important lessons. People play the blame game for many reasons. You may be defensive when the light is shined on your wrongdoings. This can lead to you avoiding accountability which typically worsens the problem.
3. Make Time for Self Reflection
To take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, you need to become aware. Self-reflection allows you to develop more self-awareness. When you are mindful of your feelings, thoughts, and actions, you understand the patterns and logic behind the things that you do. With this information in mind, you can take stock of negative habits and replace them with good habits instead. To self-reflect, you should write your feelings and thoughts down in a mindfulness journal. As time passes, you can reread your journal entries and gain deeper insight into how you felt at the time, taking note of any patterns you may notice.
4. Take Accountability
Being responsible entails taking accountability. Some people love receiving praise but find difficulty in accepting responsibility when things don’t quite pan out. When you avoid taking blame or admitting that you were wrong, you don’t grow. Pride is a primary reason why some people have trouble taking accountability. However, this is usually to their detriment, leaving them to continue repeating the same mistakes over and over again. When we accept responsibility, we understand our part in a given situation. Much of how we are treated is dependent on how we treat ourselves. Hence, it’s vital to be honest with yourself when you’ve done something wrong instead of avoiding transparency and making excuses. Of course, you do not want to engage in self-pity or feelings of guilt. However, in being accountable, you can a more proactive approach by correcting poor behavior and making better decisions.
5. Don’t Internalize Judgment
Everyone has an opinion on something. However, you shouldn’t internalize other people’s judgments towards you. We are all unique in our way, having our perspectives on success and happiness. Though many of our loved ones have good intentions, it’s not rare for them to project their wishes onto us. For example, some parents may want their child to select a specific major, occupation, or even partner. You can’t live your life to appease someone else. You are responsible for living your own life.
Instead of internalizing judgments and opinions, make an extra effort to get to know yourself better. What do happiness and success look like to you? What are your standards when looking for a romantic partner? When we live true to ourselves, we live happier and more fulfilled lives. So, this will require you to be completely honest with yourself. You may even need to take some time away from people who constantly impose their views on you as this can create internal conflict, rendering decision-making a considerable challenge.
6. Practice Compassion Towards Yourself
Taking responsibility can be difficult because you understand that you control the direction you want your life to go. Upon coming to this realization, one can be a bit hard on themselves. Many of us are indeed our worst critics. When we judge ourselves harshly, we throw off our inner equilibrium. We feel ungrounded, unsupported, unsustainable, and very discouraged. As this persists, an individual can feel hopeless and even depressed—practice self-compassion. Instead reinforce positive self-talk, find humor in the situation. Don’t feel guilt and resentment, feel gratitude for learning the lesson. Instead of feeling as though you’ve wasted your time, find the wisdom in all that you’ve discovered about yourself. A mere shift in perspective is a potent action to take when you take responsibility for your life.
7. Be Mindful of Excuses
A common trait of irresponsible people is that they make or find an array of excuses. An irresponsible person who wants to eat healthier may say that they can’t because they don’t have time. However, if they are to be responsible, accountable, and honest, they would be able to sit down and figure out a way to make time. We can find many reasons not to make life changes. However, to allow these reasons to influence you not to make any change is when that reason becomes an excuse. And, at that moment, you’ve just given your power away. We all have the same 24 hours each day. How we choose to spend it is what we are all responsible for. And, this will show in the quality of life we have. So, stop making excuses for yourself.
8. Take Responsibility to Remove Toxic People
When it comes to making excuses, you may have others doing this for you. These people may want to spare you from your harsh judgment. However, this can be enabling you to continue unhealthy habits and toxic behavior. People who genuinely care for you and love you will hold you accountable because they want to see you achieve your dreams. Whereas, some individuals may want to keep you from reaching your goals as to keep you codependent on them. In such cases, these are not true friends.
To take responsibility for your life, you must also take responsibility for the people you keep in your life. People who frequently complain, self-loathe, self-deprecate, and speak down on your progress aren’t beneficial for your growth. They can stunt your progress. Make sure to keep healthy and supportive relationships. Also, you should seek to establish emotional independence to make better decisions from an objective stance and attract authentic people into your life.
9. Eradicate Negative Self-Talk
To take responsibility, eradicate negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can come from childhood trauma inflicted by abuse within the household or bullying at school. These negative, self-limiting beliefs we have of ourselves usually originate from the projections and judgments other people throw at us. When we are younger, we tend to internalize these words, and they become ingrained in our minds. It takes time to un-condition such negative ideas about Self. However, it’s possible by doing activities aimed at self-love and self-care.
We come into this world with a very clean slate. As we grow, we begin to take on our personality. Much of this has to do with the environment we are socialized in. However, you do not have to be a product of your environment. You can take responsibility for your life and reclaim your full potential by utilizing the approaches mentioned above.