December 12 – Responsibility

Many people are hesitant to accept responsibility for themselves because they fear that if they do, they will also be to blame for anything that is wrong in their lives. There is power in taking responsibility for yourself though, because it means you are in charge of your own destiny. You have the power to change your life for the better. This has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned, particularly in regard to my financial situation.

bird s eye view of sea water

On the topic of responsibility, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

Women have been reluctant to take responsibility for our lives because we have been taught that responsibility means to be held accountable for what has happened to us and therefore to be blamed. Unfortunately, in reacting against this idea of responsibility we have missed the opportunity to own and claim our lives and thus have left ourselves without roots, ties, and understanding. We need to own our lives. We need to claim our experiences, all of them, and integrate them into our existence and decisions. We need to claim who we are and be who we are. That does not mean that we are to blame for our experiences. It means that we have before us the option of living our lives and not leaving that pleasure up to someone else.

The ability to choose our own destiny is one we should not so readily give away to others. Whether you like to admit it or not, everything in your life is a choice, and your circumstances are ultimately a result of your actions. This does not mean you are to blame for what happens to you though; it simply means you have the power in your hands to change the course of your life and the circumstances in which you live.

This has been true for me not just from a financial perspective, but in many other ways personally as well. At work, I tend to feel powerless because I don’t take responsibility for determining my own role and setting the pace at which I will work. I always have a choice to tell someone no, or to set a different timeline for completing a task. In my personal life, I have the power to choose what I do in my free time, whom I let into my life, and how I let those people treat me. With regard to finances, I choose what I spend my money on. I have the privilege of being from a white middle class upbringing, so certainly I have had some advantages (though that also doesn’t discount the fact that I have worked hard. Everyone works hard, with very few outliers who are an exception and not the rule.) I see many people with the same advantages as I have, though, who complain and blame other circumstances for their debt, when in reality, they could easily make different choices and become debt free. Hell, I was one of those people for a very long time. It’s so empowering when we turn things around and realize that we make the life we live.

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