• Search

    Search The Teal Swan Article Library

  • Responsibility


    You can see how the word responsibility is in essence the ability to respond. To become responsible is to step into this ability and chose to both create and respond to your life instead of to passively react to it as if it is happening to you. It is stepping into authority over yourself. It is a highly empowered state. It is a state of accountability. Responsibility is the opposite of the state of victimhood. In victimhood, one feels that they do not govern themselves or their own life. One feels no ability to choose and one has lost touch with their sense of free will. They are in a state of powerlessness relative to themselves and their life. Responsibility is when someone healthily claims their power over themselves and their own life. This causes them to feel a sense of their own free will and to consciously choose. If you have responsibility, you are leading your own life. You claim your ability to act autonomously without the authorization of others. This state of empowerment makes you capable of facing and owning the potential consequences of any choice you may make.

    To be responsible, you have to see and own your part in the causation of the events in your life. This is like that moment in the movie the Matrix where the main character must choose between the blue pill or the red pill. If you choose to not step into responsibility, you get to see yourself as the good guy every time. You get to believe that things happen to you. There is no pressure involved in that stance. But it is a state of disempowerment. If you choose to step into responsibility, you get empowerment, you have power over your life, but you have the pressure of seeing how you created even the most painful things you’ve experienced in your life. If responsibility allows us to feel the empowerment of owning our life, then why is it so hard for us to take responsibility? Why isn’t it easy? Taking responsibility for our life feels good when our life feels like it is going right and going good. But it is very, very hard when our life feels like it is going wrong and going bad. When our life starts feeling like it is going wrong and going bad, we don’t want to be accountable for it. This is primarily because of what we make it mean about ourselves. Rather than straight up give you the answer here… just ask yourself, “If I am responsible for my life experiences and things in my life experience are going wrong or bad, what do I make that mean?” For more information about how meaning affects our life, watch my video on YouTube titled: “Meaning, The Self-Destruct Button”.

    We are addicted to being the victim. Why are we addicted to it? Because we’ve been trained to be addicted to it. Society rallies around the one who is powerless. If you’re truly seen as the victim, everyone is on your side. The powerless one is the one that gets the validation, love and assistance. We mistake the concern and pity we get from others for love. It begins to become the only way we feel love. We become very scared that if we gain autonomy or our problems go away, we will be all alone. The problem is, people get tired of giving us attention and validation for our pain after a while. They begin to gravitate away from us and we feel abandoned. Then our only hope is to find someone new to validate and pity us.

    The powerless one also doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of responsibility. The powerless one is seen as the good guy. If you are a victim, you don’t have to take responsibility for your present or your future. It’s hard to realize that no one is going to save you from your situation. One of the most painful realizations you can have is the realization that no one can rescue you from yourself or your life.

    When you feel powerless already, the awareness that there is no one to rescue you but you is enough to push you right over the edge. Many people commit suicide when they come to this realization. Those of us who feel the most powerless are faced with the decision to either commit to life and do what we can, with what we have, from where we are, or to commit in the other direction and choose death. The bottom line is, we were raised in a society that socializes us within the model of reward and punishment. One of these punishments is the withdrawal of love, which means death to the nervous system of a physical human. So, love (or shall we say close attachment bonds) equals survival to us. The emotional system of the physical human sends us the message that if we are good, we will survive and if we are bad, we will not survive. If we are good, we will be rewarded and if we are bad we will be punished.

    The ego is attached to the idea of itself as good, right, justified, and superior. It must see itself this way. So, if taking responsibility pushes a button inside you that activates your insecurity about yourself to the degree that you start to feel inferior, unjustified, wrong or bad, you will most likely automatically default to seeing yourself as the victim. You will do this so you can nullify the self-concept insecurity you are feeling. For example, lets say that a man chose to be with a woman who had two kids with an abusive ex husband. And lets say that this ex husband is actively trying to turn the kids against him by making him out to be a bad guy. If this presses a button within him that activates insecurities about being a good guy, he is likely to start to feel like a victim to the entire circumstance. He will feel like a victim to the ex husband and a victim to his lover because she is the one who drug him into this mess. Being a victim in this way restores a sense of being a good person and relieves the pressure of his authority relative to the situation.

    Anywhere you are feeling like a victim indicates an area of life that is currently a threat to your self-concept and specifically a threat to your ability to feel like a good and valuable person.
    Victimhood also allows you to be justified and have permission to feel sorry for yourself or to feel angry. Think right now about the emotional reaction happens in your body when you read the words, feeling sorry for yourself. What did you just learn? You live in a culture that believes it’s wrong and pathetic to feel sorry for yourself. You live in a society that teaches you that feeling sorrow and grief is self indulgent and pathetic and therefore inappropriate. This is especially true in the Law of Attraction Community. The minute you accept that you are creating your reality by virtue of focus and the minute you realize you are attracting the things you’re experiencing into your life, an idiotic belief that sets in. The belief goes a little something like this… It’s not ok to feel bad for yourself or angry if you are the one who created it. Or more simply put, it isn’t ok to feel sorrow and grief and anger if you the one to blame. But the thing is, whether or not we had a hand in creating a situation or not, we can’t stop feeling sorrow or grief or anger no matter how hard we may try. So we have to find a back door way to be able to feel those things. Seeing ourselves and being seen as the victim is this back door way. It allows it to be ok to feel sorrow and grief and anger. The next time you notice that you’re starting to feel sorry for yourself, stop yourself in your tracks if you start to feel bad about feeling bad and see that it is right to feel sorry for yourself. You are justified to feel sorry for yourself. It is valid and ok to feel sorry for yourself. It is the appropriate reaction to have given the circumstance. You don’t need anyone else to validate this. You are where you are and the part of you that feels that sorrow and grief and anger needs your attention like a small child that is crying out for presence and comfort. Then, only when you begin to feel a bit of relief as a result of really sitting with those feelings, find a proactive thing to do or choice to make that will cause you to come into your power and shift you (even if only a tiny bit) out of the pit of despair. We are in the role of the victim any time we feel powerless to something else, whether we feel powerless to a self-limiting belief, a person, a government, or a circumstance. It’s easy to slip into the belief that we aren’t in control of our own lives, but whenever we don’t see that we are in control of our own lives, we get stuck in the role of the victim and can’t access responsibility. So many of us who perpetually fall into feeling victimized, feel as if the world is against us. For this reason, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: “I Can’t Trust The Universe, I Feel Like God Is Against Me.”

    I need to add here that taking responsibility, like all things, can come with it’s own potential pitfalls or shadows. For example, taking responsibility does not make it so we experience a degree of empowerment that nullifies sorrow, grief or anger. Some people use responsibility as a way to try to suppress and minimize their own emotion. This is a form of emotional bypassing. This is a potential shadow that could come with taking responsibility. Another potential shadow of responsibility is that we could begin to use responsibility as a way to gain control. Control is an inherently resistant and therefore out of alignment state. We start to take responsibility for other people and for other things that are not our responsibility in order to try to regulate our environment and feel in control of our lives and the people and things in our life. We don’t give people the opportunity to change and grow in this way. Instead, we disable others from taking responsibility for their own life so we can be the one in control at all times. But the biggest potential shadow of responsibility is that we could confuse it with self-blame and thus slip into the disempowered state of self-blame. Responsibility is actually at the opposite end of the vibrational scale from self-blame. But it takes a high degree of emotional awareness to see them as opposing states because both states recognize the self in a position of causation. For this reason, self-blame can disguise itself as responsibility like a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing. But one is self-hating, the other self-loving. One condemns the self and the other saves the self. If you are taking responsibility, you are feeling empowered. If you are self blaming, you are feeling bad about yourself and disempowered. But self-blame is in fact how we escape a feeling of genuine powerlessness to someone else. One of the hardest things to do in the process of healing from sexual abuse is to let go of self-blame. This is because the state of powerlessness induced by sexual abuse is so deep that self blame is actually higher on the vibrational scale and so a person experiences it as a form of empowerment. Think of it this way, at least if I caused it somehow, I’m not completely at the mercy of an unjust world or person. That is infinitely more frightening. It means I really didn’t have any control at all.

    The universe does not recognize blame. Blame is an invention of the human psyche. It recognizes causation, but not blame or fault. But blaming others is in fact a way to get us out of self-blame, which is a lower vibration than other-blame. For this reason, I am not willing to say that blaming others is always a bad thing. Sometimes it is necessary for healing. But the very thing that can heal is also the thing that can poison. If we get stuck at the level of other-blame, we will always be stuck in the victim role. Even when we have encountered situations in our life where on a physical level, other people are causing what is occurring (and therefore to blame), we need to stop trying to get them to take responsibility and instead focus on our role in the situation entirely. We do this by accepting that we can’t do anything about them. We must accept what we cannot control through our words or actions.

    There is a degree of empowerment in accepting that dead is dead or gone is gone or over is over or done is done. We cut our losses and work only with what we do have. We can’t control anything about what the other person is doing or has done. And so, we need to stop asking them through our blame to change something. It is profoundly empowering, provided we aren’t slipping into self-blame, to just focus all our efforts on our own role in the situation and on the lessons we are learning in the situation and on making changes we can actually make.

    If you are struggling with a circumstance that makes you feel like a victim, you have been deeply hurt by something, and you feel powerless. You have to acknowledge the hurt and sadness and even get angry first before you can move forward and take your power back by taking back your responsibility. Once you have been fully present with these feelings, ask yourself the following questions…

    How am I a match to this? (This does not mean to look for ways to blame yourself for it; it means to look for the power you had in lining up with it.) What am I meant to learn from this? What is this pain causing me to know that I want? What positive things have come or could possibly come from this? What can I do to change things for the better right here and now? What do I now know to do differently in the future?

    Forgiveness is often a big part of taking responsibility. Forgiveness is the practice of making peace with where you were and are, thereby releasing you from the bondage that prevents you from touching happiness. When you forgive someone, it’s as if you are setting a prisoner free only to discover that you were the prisoner all along. I am going to be aggressive and say that you have not fully forgiven something until you are able to find genuine approval for it having happened to the degree that there is nothing left to forgive. All that is left in the wake of genuine forgiveness is gratitude. When we do not find a way to make harmony with the things that cause us to suffer, they become wounds of the mind. They become wounds that we carry with us in our consciousness and sub-consciousness every day. The pain becomes like shackles that we are so used to living with that we don’t even realize we have the power to take them off.

    When we truly forgive someone, the negative emotion no longer exists. Instead, we sense a deep feeling of peace. Because of this, forgiveness is freedom. Sometimes though, simply for the sake of knowing the inherent goodness of forgiveness, we try to rush ourselves into forgiveness when we have not yet changed the thoughts we are thinking about whatever we are trying to forgive. It can never happen this way. Forgiveness cannot be forced. We cannot TRY to forgive. Instead, it is the natural byproduct of previous steps that we take. But you can begin this process by asking yourself these two questions. “What do I need in order to let go of this situation or what do I need in order to forgive in this situation?” And “What do I approve of relative to this situation?” You can write a positive aspects list about the situation itself that has you feeling like a victim. Forgiving other people isn’t the most important part of owning your life. The most important part of owning your life is to forgive yourself. In truth, forgiveness has nothing to do with anyone else anyway. Although forgiveness feels very good to a receiving party, forgiveness is only ever about yourself. Whether it’s someone else you are forgiving or yourself, forgiveness is only ever unilateral. So ask yourself, how do I approve of myself relative to this situation that has me feeling like a victim or blaming myself?”

    Happiness and internal freedom is found in the alteration of the point of view you are holding about a subject. If you remove yourself far enough from the limited point of view of pain, you will see that we are all nothing but the victims of victims. Remove yourself even farther than that, and you will see that there is no such thing as a victim. When we succumb to seeing ourselves as powerless, we are letting the people and circumstances in our lives dictate how we will feel, and ultimately who we will be. We feel powerless to own our own lives and we waste our time asking, “Why me?” instead of doing what we can, with what we have, from where we are.

    Own your life. Taking responsibility for your future means you have to drop the thoughts, words, and actions that aren’t getting you anywhere. It means you have to change, and let’s face it, change is scary. It’s scary to hold the weight of your own life in your hands. But our lives will only become lives of joy, freedom, and peace when we can own the responsibility not only for what was, but also for what is and what is to come.

    The time has come to see that we have the choice. And to consciously chose instead of succumb to the idea that we are being drug along by some external thing. For example, you may hate your job and yet say, “I have to go to work”. In this situation, you are a victim. The truth is that you don’t have to go to work. You could just never show up to work again. If you go to work, you are consciously making the decision to be there because it seems like the best option to you. So, own the decision and go to work or own the decision and never go to work again. Any time you use the word “have to”, you are not taking responsibility for yourself and your life. Any time you make excuses for past failures or for why you can’t do something you want to do, you are not taking responsibility for yourself and your life. Instead, just admit to why you really didn't get that thing done or aren’t doing something you want. Were you too lazy, too afraid, too tired, or just feeling like doing something more fun? It's okay to admit it, even if it doesn’t feel good to admit. It's best to admit your real reasons for not doing something before you focus on progressing.
    If you are feeling like a victim in a situation, you are avoiding something in your life. What is it that you are trying to avoid? Taking responsibility means facing something you don’t want to face. But in order to live a life worth living, you need to face that very thing.

    Admit to your mistakes. Making the most of a mistake does amazing things for responsibility. It enables you to learn from your mistakes and thus set up the kind of future you really do want to live. Talk about owning your life. But it is a guarantee that if you have a hard time admitting to mistakes, it’s because you have a hard time letting go of them. For more on this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “How to Let Go of Mistakes”.

    Short circuit your complaining. Complaining is a state of victimhood and it sets up neural pathways in the brain that predispose you for negative focus. It is also another form of blame. Take initiative to change anything you feel like complaining about or change your perspective about it. Another great tool is to short cut complaint with gratitude. When you begin complaining, scan your environment for things that are positive about the situation or even general things you are grateful for in your life. Gratitude is the opposite vibration from victimhood. Practice self-discipline. Set goals, take initiative and do not allow yourself to be distracted. No procrastinating. See things through to the end. And commit. Commitment is responsibility. If you are avoiding a commitment, you are failing to take responsibility. You are especially failing to take responsibility for what you are actually committed to. To understand more about this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “How To Get Over The Fear Of Commitment”. Look at your life and ask yourself this question: If I were to take full responsibility for my life and really own my own life, what would I do differently today? Then go for it. You do not have to improve all aspects of your life at once; just take the next logical step from wherever you are. Once you are done with that step, take the next one. Simply keep taking the step that is right in front of you—and one day, you will be living the kind of life that you do want to own.