Do you feel overly responsible for outcomes to the point that you become self-righteous when others don’t do as you advise? Or do you feel irresponsible for your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and blame others for your choices?
In this blog, I offer 6 tips to taking responsibility in a healthy way. These suggestions aim to 1) Replenish your lost energy, drained from taking over-responsibility, and 2) Empower you to be free of the victim mindset of blaming others.
This blog describes the fifth of nine attributes of a Loving Self-Advocate (LSA), this one being on the emotional realm. A LSA is a woman who is holistically balanced, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She knows her worth and how to get her needs met in a healthy way.
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Need a Recap of the First 4 Attributes?
To read more about the other attributes, see below. Learn how to move away from the extremes and move towards a holistic, balanced path.
First attribute, Balanced Self-Discipline
Second attribute, Prosperity Mindset
Third attribute, Balanced & Organized
Fourth attribute, Humble & Kind
Attribute #5 of a Loving Self Advocate –
Taking Responsibility in a Healthy Way
To take responsibility in a healthy way, it’s important to shift away from self-righteous and victim mindsets.
There is a part of you that doesn’t like the terms self-righteous and victim because they seem negative and demeaning, maybe even embarrassing to admit you have. But let me put your mind at ease.
We ALL have self-righteous and victim mindsets to some degree. If you’re human, you breathe, right? Similarly, if you’re human, you have an innate need to protect your beliefs, to protect that which you call YOU.
You have a separate body and mind all unto your own. Because you feel unique in this way, your natural inclination to self-protect spurs on self-righteousness, “I am right in how I believe. Therefore, you must be wrong.”
Additionally, if you’re human, you have some victim pathology, no matter how small. Feeling like a victim could be resisting anything in your life, from the weather, to the mail coming late, to not feeling secure enough in the world, to the waitress delivering you the wrong salad, to your latest health diagnosis, to your family member being on drugs, to your spouse leaving you due to death or divorce, etc.
All I’m saying is that being self-righteous and victim are NORMAL. I definitely have the same mindsets. But what if we could become self-aware and healed to the point that we pick a middle ground and take responsibility in a healthy way?
The benefits to taking responsibility in a healthy way are vastly improved relationships with yourself, others, and even a Higher Power. Happy relationships = Happy Life per a Harvard study.
Which Side of the Spectrum of Responsibility Do You Fall?
Option 1–Self Righteous Quiz
(checkmark the statements that resonate with you)
- I feel overly responsible for outcomes to the point that I become self-righteous and “advise” others when not asked because in my heart I believe I know best.
- I often blame myself for things that go wrong, even though I don’t control the variables.
- I have a lot going on in my world; I like to stay busy and moving. Busy is a badge of honor.
- I’ve been called a busy body because I know everybody’s business. I can get easily enmeshed and take on others’ energy.
- Everyone relies on me to organize family functions and generally keep things together. Things would fall apart if it weren’t for me. UGH.
- I feel responsible for everyone’s feelings. I’ve always been the peacekeeper. It’s exhausting.
- I am frustrated because my attempts to feel safe and in control are met with resistance by others who don’t want to listen to me. I feel leveraged by them because I don’t control how they affect me.
- I tend to judge others for their lack of discipline and poor decisions.
- I have a strong need to be right and in control in order to survive. I suspect it hurts my relationships (this may be a blindspot), but it’s who I am. Not sure I want to change.
Can you relate to any of these questions? If so, taking over-responsibility for others’ feelings, thoughts, and success will lead you down a road of disconnection. They will resent you (see below on the Victim).
You pair well with the person who feels like a victim, because they’re looking for someone or something to blame, and you’re looking to take responsibility where it’s not yours to own. It’s a perfect “subconscious” match made in heaven.
But hold on. Before you feel superior to the victim, look at it like this. You’re both traveling down a path, one the self-righteous path, and the other, the victim path. You meet in the middle of the path, and it’s still a path of loneliness and disconnection.
Option 2–Victim Quiz
(checkmark the statements that resonate with you)
- I feel inept at relationships; why won’t they “stick” or last?
- People are messy, and I blame them for things going wrong.
- I don’t like talking about my feelings, let alone feeling them or taking responsibility for them. Feelings are weak and unpredictable.
- Other people get under my skin. I could be having a perfectly great day, and if some jerk cuts me off in traffic or my spouse is impatient with me, I quickly lose my temper.
- I get angry when others don’t listen to me or respect my opinions.
- My life feels unfair because everyone else has it easier. I have unique challenges (i.e.,physical, mental or emotional). I feel bad for myself.
- People should be more polite, honest and do what they say.
- I’m hesitant to get close to people. If I’m really honest with myself, I feel sensitive and don’t trust others with my heart.
- Sometimes when I’m down in the dumps, I don’t feel fit for human consumption. I don’t want my bad mood to rub off on them.
Do you resonate with any of these questions? This path, though it may feel a lot different from the self-righteous, is not so different. Both states of consciousness come from the victim mentality. Both are still blaming someone, whether it’s the self or another person or circumstance.
So what is a solution? It’s the Loving Self-Advocate Way of Taking Responsibility.
Affirmation: I take responsibility for my choices, thoughts, and feelings without harsh self-judgment and therefore have greater impact and influence. No one is making me feel a certain way. I’m in charge of how I perceive things, and I choose to respond in a way that honors my values.
6 Steps for Taking Responsibility in a
Healthy Way as a Loving Self Advocate
1) I Don’t Put Anyone On a Pedestal
I interrupt the rescuing behavior of the self-righteous by not rescuing. I’m not the guru who’s going to fix others. Further, I don’t need to be fixed either. In my heart, I say to myself and them, “You’ve got this! What can you do to solve this situation? I believe in your ability to figure this out.”
I stop the victim mindset behavior because I don’t feel sorry for myself or others. I don’t see anyone on some ladder of superiority or inferiority. We are all unique and deserve love and respect.
I am genuine because our subconscious mind immediately knows if our words and feelings are incongruent. I don’t BS myself or anyone else.
When I believe each of us is deserving of mutual respect, I deepen my connection with others. Trust is restored.
2) I Avoid Saying YOU
If I were to address you with critical and negative feedback, you almost certainly would be on the defensive. For example, if I said to you, “You didn’t tell me that I was supposed to pick up the laundry today.” The underlying message is “It’s your fault.”
This creates what Shirzad Chamine calls “saboteur contagion.” My critical self connects with your critical self. Instead, I could say, “I didn’t pick up the laundry today because I wasn’t aware that I was supposed to.” And behind those words, I have the congruent energy of humility and giving you the benefit of the doubt that this was an honest miscommunication.
This may seem simple, but it helps me to preserve many of my relationships.
3) I Stay On My Side of the Street
Being responsible for my OWN feelings is a full-time job. My inner world is complex and based upon all of my experiences to date. It will take me a lifetime to really understand myself.
Each day I focus on offering myself more empathy, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, love and trust. This is my main job, and I’m the only one who can do this job. I cannot assign the calming of my nervous system to anyone else.
Therefore, I let others be responsible for their feelings and success.
4) I Let Go of Control
I no longer need to control outcomes. Instead, I surrender to a Higher Power: “Dear God or Higher Power, please give me the willingness and the ability to let go and relax. Help me to surrender my will to you. You can do this much better than me.”
By giving up the need to control, ironically I feel MORE in control. This allows me to loosen the reins on my life and believe in others beyond their “feel sorry for me” story. They sense my shift in energy. This gives them the space to step up to their own success. We create connection as a result, because it feels good to me to let them run their own life. They feel better too, because they appreciate my trust in them.
5) I Follow Through On My Commitments
I never used to trust myself to do what I said I was going to do. Each time I didn’t keep my word to myself or others, I lost a little more trust. I felt a little more self-betrayed each time.
The mistrust was destroying my relationships. People didn’t feel safe with me. They certainly didn’t respect me. Now that I keep my word, everything has shifted. I’ve gained more credibility than ever before, and I have deep, meaningful friendships and connections.
6) I Attract Amazing Clients/Friends
The healthier I become in body, mind and spirit and the more I take personal responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions, the safer I become for others. They know I’ll be real with them. I’m someone they can trust.
As a result they more easily develop into their own Loving Self Advocate self. They are no longer dependent upon me. I no longer rob them of their own power, which they would ultimately resent.
I’m attracting more and more amazing friends and clients.