Responsibility vs. helplessness – “It’s not my fault!”


So many people now are being taught to be helpless.  If you are unsure of what I’m talking about, consider this:  How many times do you hear people blaming others for anything and everything?  Whether it’s job loss, lack of a boyfriend or girlfriend, bad health, bad grades, being late to work, or whatever, it’s never anyone’s fault.  If you, like me, are immediately thinking of exceptions and reasons why, then this idea really deserves some thought.

When you think about it, it’s unhealthy to blame the rest of the world for things.  Not only that, but it leads to continued failure.  Have you seen the kids who get a participation prize whether they win or lose?  As the sting is taken away from the losers, the sting is taken away from the winners.  I know a girl who won a foot race.  She told her dad “it doesn’t matter, everyone got a trophy.”  It’s the same thing with life.  If we blame the world for our failures, who do we credit for our successes?

It’s a lot healthier to find the places we can take charge of our lives.  Instead of blaming traffic for being late to work, we leave earlier or check the traffic online.  Instead of blaming circumstance for our health, we exercise and eat better. What we can control, we do.  When we are in a bad relationship, we managed our own responses so we can deal with the other partner with a clear head.   Even though modern society seems to reject personal responsibility, we embrace it so we don’t have to be so storm-tossed and rudderless as everyone else.

The benefits of personal responsibility can be seen in all aspects of life – love, work, play, finance, health, relationships.  I think it’s useful to think about why personal responsibility is subtly undervalued.  Why would people want us to be so dependent on outside forces?  Could it be because we make better consumers when we feel helpless?  I know I have a lot of thinking to do in that direction.  I’m not perfect, but I have myself to thank for that, and myself to improve.  Even if the media keeps teaching me to blame others, and schooling, and my upbringing, I am a thinking being and I have a choice!