Taking Responsibility without taking it Personally

All too often us super-responsible people take responsibility for others, because we feel responsible for everything.  But, living responsibly means owning your life and decisions in such a way that you can let your friend own theirs.  Being truly self-less means knowing who you are so well that you can live without identifying yourself as the problem or the solution.


I recently, wrote a post for a friend’s blog in which I encouraged moms not to take their daughter’s problems personally.  As I wrote I suddenly wanted to go on a rant about all the things that go wrong when you take someone else’s problems personally.  So, I decided to write a post for anyone who happens to be – like me – easily offended and frequently believing that problems are your fault and your responsibility to solve.

personal responsbility

Can I just say, this is a stressful way to live!  I know because, I’m an expert at taking things personally.  As a result I’m easily offended.  When I take things personally I think every problem other people have is my fault, so I get offended, because most of the time it’s not my fault, but I think it is…  After many sleepless nights and much struggling I here’s what I learned.

Taking things personally is selfish.

The truth about taking things personally
I used to think taking things personally was self-less and loving; like the more I took personally the more I was taking responsibility for my actions.  But that’s a lie.  Taking things personally is selfish.  It’s a glorification of self, that says:

I am the problem.

Taking things personally is self-glorification.

This thought focus on YOU, not the other person.

It seems simple.  It seems harmless.  And, like I said, it even seems self-less.  But when I take things personally I’m actually identifying myself as: the problem.

This is dangerous.  It puts all the pressure on me.  If I can’t pull through, stop making mistakes, and solving every problem everyone I know has, the world is going to come to an end.  All because of me!

So, what does being self-less mean?
Just so we’re all clear, I’m not arguing that you should not take responsibility for your actions.  Actually, that’s exactly what I’m arguing.  Take responsibility for your actions.  Think before you speak.  Live above reproach.  Choose healthy habits.  Listen to your hurting and frustrated friend.  Offer encouragement and advice.  But don’t wear their pain.  

All too often us super-responsible people take responsibility for others, because we feel responsible for everything.  But, living responsibly means owning your life and decisions in such a way that you can let your friend own theirs.  Being truly self-less means knowing who you are so well that you can live without identifying yourself as the problem or the solution.

Self-less people apologize for their part of the problem,
not for being the problem. 

Now, with that said, a self-less person knows they aren’t perfect.  As a result they are always working on improving themselves.  While self-less people listen to the concerns of others without identifying as the problem, self-less people know they can be a contributor to the problem.  They listen with humility, aware that they could have made a mistake.  They are then able to apologize for their part of the problem and work on acting differently next time.

Becoming an expert at being me 
Instead of being an expert at taking things personally I’m committing to become an expert at being a person.  I’m committing to be me instead of the problem.  I’m committing to choose to live so well I can hear my friends’ heart when she’s hurting and admit my mistakes if necessary, but still be a person, not the problem.  In other words, I’m taking responsibility for me instead of taking the problem personally.

PC: Erica Ruth

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