Take Responsibility and Get Power

An interesting thing happened today. My oldest is 15 and recently bought her own iphone 6S. Pretty pricey phone so she is making payments each month and we pay for the phone service on our family plan.

Today at school she was bottle flipping (strange kid behavior where kids flip bottled waters or drinks over and try to have them land on their bottom-weird I know). The bottle was whacked by another kid intentionally and then fell onto her phone that was on the floor next to her. And guess what? That oh so strong (NOT) iphone glass shattered.

I was at work and she called me distraught and beside herself, emotionally sharing her story. She really wanted to blame the other kid and somehow get him to take ownership of the problem and pay for the repair.

This led to a very interesting discussion about the difference between being at fault and being responsible.

Being at Fault VS Being Responsible

Here’s a great example I shared with her. On Friday my puppy Koda cut his foot open running in the canal behind our house. Although I was not at fault, I was responsible for taking care of his injury. That means instead of moaning about the injustice and replaying the scenario over to see what I might have done wrong, I simply take responsibility and get the dog to the vet and care for him. Because it’s not my fault but I am responsible. Even when the bill gave me severe sticker shock!

Applying this to her phone, while she is not at fault (it was a joint accident due to her leaving the phone on the floor and the boy hitting the bottle into the phone) she is responsible.

There is huge power that comes in this way of thinking. By taking responsibility for everything in our lives, we can create change. It takes us out of victim status and instead gives us power to control our own life.

Taking Full Responsibility 

My younger brother has a son who was born with a genetic disease that can only occur if both parents carry a specific very rare gene. His son Mikah passed away before his first birthday and it was a tragic loss for the entire family but especially for his parents.

Recently he was talking with my mom and told her that he takes full responsibility for his son’s disease and his death. I was shocked! How could he say that! He didn’t cause that to happen and he certainly didn’t want it the happen.

Here’s the interesting thing-he said that while he doesn’t feel it was his fault, he is responsible for every decision that he made leading up to and including creating his sweet son. He CHOSE to marry his first wife, he CHOSE to have a baby with her and through those actions their son was given this rare genetic disorder that led to his early passing.

This took me a while to fully grasp. I still think I’m working on understanding.

How Does Taking Responsibility Give You Power?

Bringing it back to a much less dramatic application, my daughter CHOSE not to purchase the warranty plan, she CHOSE not to purchase a glass screen protector, she CHOSE to place her phone on the floor, she CHOSE to bottle flip and every one of these decisions contributed to her phone breaking.

Did she want to break her phone? No. Is she at fault. Not really. But is she responsible? Yes. If she chooses to be. Or she can play the victim, blame the other kid, and stay stuck and upset.

Taking responsibility gives you back your power. It allows you to say,”I am responsible for this which means I can change this situation/relationship/job/feeling etc”.

Isn’t that a great place to be? Empowered and non-victim. By turning our thinking away from finding blame and looking for the person who is at fault, we could change the entire world one person at a time.

So start today with yourself. Be responsible for yourself, your feelings, your actions, and the way you react to the things you don’t choose but that you are responsible for. It just might change your life.



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