Responsibility has a bad rap. For many, it’s tied up in authority figure’s, parent’s, and bad friend’s critical judgements. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth just thinking of the word. The accusation you’re not taking responsibility is often tactical. It’s a fancy way for others to demand more out of you at best and a powerful way to manipulate you at worst.
Sometimes this demand is fair. Before pushing back, give the devil his due. We do owe it to others to be there, support them, and do our fair share. Sometimes it’s hard to see and we need a good friend to give us a push. But, more often, we’re left with the all too familiar feeling of confusion and indignation. We internally respond, “You deal with it.” Externally, we find ourselves politely saying, “Anything else I can do for you?” Toxic responsibility is slavery. It kills the sense of aliveness and purpose we all thrive on. No one can live being another person’s tool for long. Toxic responsibility is not real responsibility.
Real responsibility turns you on. It sets you free. It electrifies you. It works that way because real responsibility taking is a deeply meaningful process. It’s the truest expression of your values, hopes for the world, and what you want your life to stand for. It’s your soul’s deepest murmurings expressed in action. The deeper you dig into articulating your unique values something powerful is revealed. The demand to act. To transform your most meaningful dreams into a reality. This is your unique life’s purpose.
When you hit the bedrock of your personal responsibility, life becomes complicated. There’s a deep demand within that moves you. The world can’t be like this. I can’t be like this. Something has to change. Yet, change doesn’t happen on its own. Electrified by your values and armed with a vision, taking responsibility ceases being a burden. It becomes freeing. A type of following the breadcrumb effect sets in – the more you understand what you, personally, must do the more responsibility you take on. No burden becomes too heavy. How could it? You carry these values already. All you’re doing is discovering them and breathing life into them through your actions.
Yonasan Bender LCSW graduated from Hebrew University’s School of Social Work. He has his psychotherapy practice at The Place: The Jerusalem Centre for Emotional Wellbeing. To share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or a different perspective, you can reach Yonasan Bender LCSW at 053-808-0435 or email him by clicking HERE.