The Power in Taking Responsibility
“The degree to which you accept responsibility for everything in your life is precisely the degree of personal power you have to change or create anything in your life.” — Hal Elrod, from The Miracle Morning
This quote on a Facebook meme of mine recently got a lot of shares. I want to take the post a step further to explore what taking responsibility for everything in your life really means, and how it can change everything. When I realized the gravity of this quote for the first time I felt unstoppable, and I’m going to share what I think were the keys to making that feeling a reality.
I’m going to break this down into four simple keys:
Awareness. Mindset. Courage. Action.
Back when I felt the physical pain of unhappiness, unworthiness and resentment building inside of my chest wall and around my heart, I was practicing awareness. I was keenly aware that if I did not start to speak up in my marriage and ask for the things that mattered to me, I’d probably have a heart attack.
I started speaking up. I practiced feeling the fear inside, changing my thoughts and beliefs about what would happen if I spoke up (I was great at avoiding confrontation), and then took the action even though I was afraid. My life started shaking awake all around me at that point. At many times that felt painful. Ultimately it was exactly what I needed to start living the life I craved. And my chest pain disappeared too.
The pain was burning a hole through my soul and it felt like I couldn’t keep up with the leak; constantly rushing around trying to be more, do more and achieve more. My roles as a mom, a healer and a wife were feeling like a prison cell because nothing I did — and I did a lot — was enough to feel like I was keeping up with others expectations.
I started paying a lot more attention — the awareness — to what felt good and what didn’t. I knew I couldn’t afford to be in a life that created chest pain much longer. I knew there would be consequences if I ignored it.
Taking responsibility for everything in my life was my ultimate freedom. It wasn’t a burden or a chore to take responsibility for everything. It was the key to unlocking my prison. In my case, part of what had to happen was a divorce. I’ve written about that experience and want to help you understand, while that may have been a big step, taking responsibility for all the little things in-between was just as important and impactful.
Here’s what I ended up actually doing (and still do) and what the four keys I mentioned (awareness, mindset, courage, action) really meant, and might just help you too:
- I had to stop blaming anyone else for me feeling unhappy
- I had to get clear about what made me happy and what my desires were
- I had to express myself and not keep it all in my head
- I had to make decisions and follow through with them
- I had to be afraid and take action anyway
- I had to live the life I craved in any small way I could
- I had to know what mattered to me
- I had to stand up for what mattered to me (and the rest of my life)
- I had to set boundaries with people (family, friends, kids and spouse)
- I had to actually honor the boundaries, even when it felt impossible
- I had to take care of myself first
- I had to seek a community of like-minded warriors
- I had to get out of my house and go be with those people
- I had to remind myself of my desires, goals and dreams every day
- I had to promise myself I wouldn’t quit on my own dreams
- I had to go for something that felt good, in all areas of my life, on a daily basis
- I had to learn how to apologize
- I had to learn how to detach
- I had to learn how to stay in the moment
- I had to learn how to forgive
- I had to learn how to align my actions with my dreams
- I had to practice being unapologetic about this list
- I had to decide to feel worthy, happy and grateful
The last one was powerful. I had the awareness, which meant I had the choice. I chose happy. And still do, every single day.
This might seem like a lot. But I had a lot of help. I made sure to pursue the help I needed to think, be and do what made me happy, grateful and purposeful. When I took responsibility for everything, it was up to me, but I didn’t have to do it all alone. When I took responsibility for everything, my whole life changed because I realized I didn’t have to wait for anyone else, or ask permission of anyone else to move forward.
What areas of your life are you feeling boxed in, out of control or helpless? What areas do you need to take more responsibility for? Today’s the day to start changing everything! Join me in the comments with some discussion around this!
Laura Di Franco, MPT is an intuitive writing strategist, holistic physical therapist and third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do with over two decades of experience in healing. Praised as “our favorite class” by The Writer’s Center, her brave, intuitive writing and healing workshops are the reason she was born. She helps writers get their badass, authentic voice published in order to heal the world with their words. Her new book, Brave Healing; a Sherpa for Your Journey is due out June 1st! Find Laura at www.BraveHealer.com and her Brave Healer Facebook Page.