“Look at the word responsibility – “Response-ability” – the ability to choose your response. Highly pro-active people recognise that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behaviour.”  Stephen Covey. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

This is my first post from a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.

I wrote previously how I struggled with addressing my needs and wants because of my overwhelming feeling of being responsible. All my life I made sure that I put others first and did the right thing by my husband, my children, my family, my work, and our community. I did what I thought was expected of me. If something did not quite go right, then it was up to me to find a solution to the problem, and to fix it. Even though being ‘responsible’ often brought with it negative feelings of over-work, obligations, loss of freedom and dullness; and even though sometimes I ended up exhausted with everything becoming a struggle; I still felt I had to keep on keeping on. That is what I did. That was being responsible.

There is a flip side to this. It is hiding under the excuse of ‘others’ or ‘my genetics’ or ‘circumstances’ or ‘my responsibility’ to never really having the courage to do what is in my heart. These are the excuses coupled with an overwhelming feeling of thinking that I would be selfish if I ever did what was best for me – ahead of others. I have been using these excuses for not taking responsibility for my own self and my own future.

That was until I had my epiphany, the bolt of lightening that shook me out of the ingrained attitude of mine that I simply have to keep on keeping on. At that point I realised that I had a choice. Part of that choice was to take responsibility for me and my own well-being. It was my responsibility to recognise myself as an individual with my own needs and wants, my own opinions, a right to be treated fairly, and a right to a wonderful future. It was my responsibility to shake my core belief that I was not good enough. It was my responsibility to instill in myself a new belief of my own worthiness for a happy life which did not include continuing the way I had been, slaving away in fruitless endeavours trying to fix things.

In various posts I have written about varying goals of mine to get myself back on track, looking after myself regarding diet, exercise, and having quiet moments of reflection. I had missed the underlying voice within me, probably because it was hidden underneath all the confusion and turmoil I had been thrown into after the separation. I had also been clinging onto what had been my ‘normal’, and not wanting to make any more huge changes to my life on top of the huge emotional upheaval that I had already endured.  The voice within me now was questioning my reason and purpose for doing what I was doing and denying myself a better and less stressful life. I realised that I had been working the wrong way round. I had been plodding along doing what I had always done trying to find a purpose in it, rather than working out what my purpose in life was and then planning towards it.

It may not be my highest calling, yet I know that one of my innermost desires is to find true inner peace and harmony. To get myself truly back on track to that calling will involve going in a completely different direction in life. That will mean massive change. That is daunting.

It will require much courage to strive to this goal despite the apprehension and fear that I have on the challenges involved in getting there.

However, it will be done. It will be the best outcome for me and my long-term health and happiness. I will do it for me because I am worth it. It is my primary responsibility.



Image Courtesy [Stuart Miles] /

36 thoughts on “Responsibility

  1. It is very scary to make major life changes. Especially when you have no one beside you to help you through it! But I hope that you will find once you change direction, everything will fall into place. And this time, it is your choice, no one else has made it for you and I think that will make this transition easier.

    • As you say things are pretty scary because there is no-one beside me, but empowering because the choices now are all mine.
      thanks for your encouragement. I very much appreciate it.

  2. We have to take care of our core “self” before we can help others efficiently and without harm to our “self.” I think most of the time we don’t consider the long-term effect of our actions; that’s careless and dangerous.

    As for my “self,” I was just thinking today about how I have to revisit my short-, mid-, and long-term goals again and readjust. I’ve been making such big decisions in the last decade or so, and certainly in the last two years, that I have to keep checking if I’m on track (whatever track that may be.) I feel most lost when I’ve muddied up my goals so much I’m not clear about where I’m going. I’m changing up careers now and am on a rapidly morphing journey that requires even more frequent checking. It’s all good. Scary. But good. Hang in there. Have faith. Act fearless until you become fearless. HUGS to you!

    • Yes, it is tough to remember to put ‘me’ first.
      Responsibility to self, is also being responsible to others because if you look after yourself, then you do not become a burden on others 🙂

  3. I love response-ability!! We do have the ability to respond however we choose. It is often the choosing that we miss out on! and the choosing is, as Diana says about being centred within our selves and making great choices for us first!

  4. You said it in one at the end – absolutely you need to do it for you, your health, your life, your well.

    Great post.

    • I think sometimes the posts are pep talks to myself, rather than ‘wise advice’.
      Hopefully I will begin to listen and follow what I say.
      Thanks so much for your continued support.

  5. Since childhood, “taking responsibility” has been synonymous with “forcing myself” to me. I need to come back to this post over and over until it sinks in. Maybe I have been “taking react-ivity” for years because it started before I had the tools to choose from my center?

    • With a new career ahead of you, you are well on the way. I admire you to do that at this stage of your life. That is inspirational.
      If you haven’t already, do read Stephen Covey’s book ‘the seven habits of highly effective people’. His first habit is ‘I am in control of my own destiny’. This first chapter is SO empowering.
      Thanks for your continued support

  6. What a powerful epiphany.

    Old habits grate against new thinking — sounds like you are smoothing them down with your focus on peace-making and creating harmony. You are widening the path to your goals and making it possible to live in whole new ways! Wow! What an inspiring and affirming post. Thanks Elizabeth.

    • Thanks.
      Also thanks for the reminder about the old habits too. They do keep creeping in.
      I guess that we must build up impenetrable walls of new habits to keep them out.

  7. I also really like the term “response-ability.” It can provide insights into our ability to make decisions that in the end will get us to just the spot where we need to be.

  8. Hmmm…after your comment I wanted to check out your blog some more. This is great! I’m going to find the time (after Saturday) to peruse these posts. It’s so easy for me to react when my buttons get pushed- but if I can get some distance from the pushers I think it’s important to look at the why/how and try to choose my responses instead. In fact- distance from the button pushers will be a positive step for now! Thanks!

    • I am glad to know that my post helped you. I have felt reading about how others coped with similar situations has helped me. It great to know that my writing on what works / doesn’t work can help someone else. And I most certainly agree with you that distance from the button -pushers is a wise move!
      (if you can) 🙂

  9. After retiring I was able to focus more on taking better care of myself but it has now been three years and I still find it a big change, almost odd to put myself first. Health is the important thing for me as I try to improve my well being. I’ve created a literary lifestyle for my fun and it is as you might expect. It’s quiet! It can have it’s little moments of excitement. Returning to some peaceful and spiritual comfort with time to think and hoping to continue to dream, maybe inspire and help when I can.
    Thankyou for your interest in my blog too!

    • Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it and I can relate exactly to what you say. I am glad that you have found creativity since retirement. It is empowering to find a new person within oneself.

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  13. This was an outstanding one for me, since I have always been an “old soul” and also a worrier! So, my responsibility should be to make sure that I am focused and take care of myself before I can move forward to help or nurture or contribute… I like you use of the word “epiphany” and think you are “worthy” and able to be a complete person, too. You are sharing your “angst” and I appreciate this change in your path, moving forward on your own path that you choose.

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