One of the most popular misconceptions attributed to the “take personal responsibility for your life” philosophy is as follows:
Instead of blaming others for your unhappiness, you should look in the mirror and blame yourself.
I’ve met plenty of people who are really good at blaming themselves. They never make excuses and they’re quick to take ownership of the situation whenever breakdowns occur.
Unfortunately, many of these people are just as emotionally bruised and bent out of shape as the person who runs around pointing his fingers at everybody except for himself.
While it may sound noble on the surface, this approach to “taking responsibility” simply trades in one unhealthy practice for another.
In exchange for being bitter at others, people adopt an attitude of condemnation towards themselves.
Instead of brooding in resentment, they wallow in guilt.
Both strategies, however, lead to the same destination: a lack of internal peace combined with a lack of practical solutions.
Here’s today’s two cents:
Self-determination is not equivalent to self-abasement.
Taking personal responsibility for your life has nothing to do with being a jerk to yourself every time you fail.
Beating up on yourself for your shortcomings is no more enlightened (or practical) than being bitter at the outside world.
Whether you’re busy holding grudges towards others or busy punishing yourself for being a “screw-up”, you’re still spending your time doing something other than creating what you desire.
If you make a mistake, own it and move forward.
If something doesn’t go your way, learn what you can, make adjustments, and get back in the game.
Using up valuable time to spew hatred at yourself, however, has nothing to do with any helpful or healthy notions of “responsibility.”