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Taking Responsibility For Your Actions Essay

Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

By Audrey Marlene

Taking Responsibility

What Does It Mean?

Why is it so difficult for us to accept responsibility for our actions? There is a story of two parents with two children who attended 5 schools before 10th grade all within a 20 mile radius because they claimed the schools were horrible and the teachers showed favoritism. At what point would these parents accept responsibility for their children's involvement in the problems they experienced?

We all like to feel important and have others have a high opinion of us. Some more than others develop an over-inflated view of themselves. These tendencies act to wrap us in what many call "denial", which creates a false perception of self and the inability to accept the truth about us. It then becomes painful to accept that mistakes are possible and when we make them the first reaction is to point the finger at someone else. We refuse to think objectively and accept any involvement for our actions. Taking responsibility can be a very painful thing to do.

The inability to accept responsibility for our actions and behaviors is a result of insecurity. By taking responsibility one feels they are admitting to being weak, powerless, or an opportunity to lose the respect of others. It may cause one to feel they will lose their sense of value and importance.

On the contrary, taking responsibility earns you respect. We can't be perfect all the time, we all make mistakes. When we accept responsibility we are accepting the blame for our actions and also accepting the responsibility for making improvements in our lives. Accepting responsibility is a measure of one's self-worth, their level of security, and the true sign of strength and courage. Having this ability can empower you to grow in ways that would bring you great rewards and accomplishments in your life.

Who would you have greater respect for, a person who takes responsibility for his/her actions, owns up to it and promises to do better in the future, or someone who perpetually denies any involvement in situations when it's obvious they may be responsible? Accepting responsibility is a sign of personal growth and maturity. It is definitely not a sign of weakness.

The Consequences for NOT Taking Responsibility

When you fail to accept personal responsibility for your actions there are a series of events that follow over time. The consequences do not necessarily promote goal achievement and success in life. The signals you send to the subconscious can come back to sabotage your progress.

One of the negative consequences that follow is an exaggerated sense of self that makes it difficult to get along with others. You then run the risk of becoming involved in conflicting situations and becoming more critical of others. Because your perception of your importance is exaggerated, your expectation of others is unrealistic and you become impatient, intolerant, and demanding. With this attitude, you act as a repellent to others, finding it difficult to gain their cooperation. Your relationships can suffer and before long very few people would want to be around you.

When taking responsibility for your actions is difficult to accept, you experience frequent feelings of insecurity. These insecurities can trigger doubt about your own abilities, which undermines your self-confidence. In this state of mind you have a high need to be right at all times to compensate for what you feel you are lacking. You defend your every action, right or wrong. It compounds the already existing problem of being unable to accept personal responsibility and reinforces this behavior even more.

Once this habit of refusing to accept personal responsibility is maintained, your character can become slowly transformed. You may tend to become someone who is irresponsible, a quitter, reliant on others, disturbed, unhappy, hopeless, angry, irrational, and defiant or even depressed. These qualities are not success enhancers. They can eat away at your ability to achieve your best.

Examine your life today. Are you able to accept responsibility for your actions?

Reasons why Taking Responsibility is so Difficult

There are many people who develop this tendency to be unable to accept personal responsibility for their actions. Let's look in more detail some of the causes of one's inability to adopt this characteristic.

1. Feelings of Insecurity - There are some folks who may have been raised in a very chaotic environment where they were constantly put down, yelled at, or emotionally abused. There are some who grew up in an underprivileged environment and grew up with feelings of inferiority or were raised by parents who carried feelings of inferiority. Someone who didn't receive much attention, positive reinforcement, or recognition growing up, always feeling overlooked. These conditions can cause a lack of confidence in their own abilities along with feelings of low self-esteem.

2. Arrogance- People develop arrogance for several reasons. It could have been inherited - some folks know very little about humility. Others are so over confident that they become completely self-centered and see themselves as flawless and incapable of making mistakes. There are those who are so insecure that their arrogance is a way of compensating for their insecurities. They feel they must act superior to others.

3. Prejudices- Some people who feel victims of racial discrimination, intolerance, or narrow-mindedness, are always on guard or on edge. They feel unable to get the recognition they deserve and feel that others stand in their way of progress. This triggers feelings of insecurities that results of the inability to accept responsibility for their actions.

What I have identified are only some of the underlying reasons why some of us cannot accept responsibility for our actions. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Is so, this doesn't make you a bad person. You should be congratulated for recognizing these characteristics in you. Now that you are aware the next step is to making a change in your life.

How to Take Responsibility for your actions

Stop and think back to the last time you accepted responsibility for something. Does it seem as if you have a difficult time doing it? By accepting that you do have a problem in this area and learning ways of taking responsibility for your actions, you are taking your life to a higher level of existence. You will find yourself feeling more vibrant and happier. So how can you learn to take responsibility for your actions?

  • Realize that you cannot place the blame on others for the choices you make. Be fair in your dealings.
  • Understanding that it's ok to make mistakes. No one will think less of you. On the contrary you will earn the respect of others for admitting your errors.
  • Seek to improve your self-esteem When your self-esteem is high, your self-perception and self-worth is so peaked that there's no need to pretend to be something you're not. There's no more need to feel sorry for yourself. There are no more feelings of inferiority. Admitting your poor judgment in a situation and taking responsibility comes easily.
  • Build your self-confidence When you are confident in your abilities, you won't become defensive when you make a mistake. Owning your contribution to a situation and taking responsibility becomes natural.
  • Giving of yourself in service to others, teachers empathy and compassion, characteristics that helps one to overcome self-centeredness.
  • Learn ways to let go of fear. Fear can create insecurities.
  • Acceptance of who you are. Learn to love yourself unconditionally and accept who you are.
  • Learn how to see things objectively without bias and prejudice.
  • Let go of bigotry.
  • Let go of feelings of victimization. Learn to see yourself as a victor and not a victim.
  • Develop your spiritual life. By adding a spiritual dimension to your life, it can help to bring more self-awareness.
  • Take your degree of success to a higher to level.

    Quotes On Taking Responsibility

  • "The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs." - Joan Didion
  • "Errors are inevitable. The mark of character is not refusing to recognize them, but acknowledging them and taking responsibility." - Andrew Sullivan
  • "Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take responsibility." -Michael Korda
  • "Whatever happens, take responsibility." -Anthony Robbins
  • "The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions, the more credibility you will have" -Brian Koslow
  • "I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • "The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man." - Roy L. Smith
  • "Peak performance begins with your taking complete responsibility for your life and everything that happens to you."- Brian Tracy
  • "If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams." -Les Brown

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  • Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

    When we make excuses or try to blame other people or external factors for the eventual outcome of something, not only are we failing to take responsibility, but we are demonstrating a character trait which is very common in people who fail to succeed in anything.

    In shouldering responsibility ourselves, we are giving ourselves the power to shape the outcome ourselves and are therefore taking an active and not a passive role in how the outcome turns out.


    It’s only when you accept that everything you are or ever will be is up to you, that you are able to get rid of the negativity of excuse making that can so often prevent you from succeeding. You may find yourself in your current position in both your personal and professional life and remain convinced that if all’s not going well, then it’s ‘so and so’s fault’. However, we all have free will which means that we are completely responsible for all of our successes and failures and of our happiness or state of unhappiness.

    When we realise this it can, at first, seem like a huge responsibility which we are placing on our shoulders but when you rationalise it and accept that you are responsible for every action you take and every decision you make, that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself and yourself only, to reach your ultimate goal.

    Get Out Clauses Don’t Work

    One of our biggest problems is that we don’t like to fail and, more importantly, we don’t like to be seen to fail. The problem with that train of thought, however, is that we then tend to set ourselves a goal but at the same time we create an excuse to keep as a ‘spare card’ we can use so that if we don’t succeed, we can blame something or somebody else. However, the more personal responsibility we take, the more in control we are and the more control we have, the more likely we will reach our goal as there will be no excuses to fall back on if we fail.

    Therefore, taking responsibility for our actions equals success. It also makes us feel good about ourselves and rids us of negative personality traits such as anger, fear, resentment, hostility and doubt.

    Replacing the Negative

    If you’ve ever been around somebody who always appears to be ‘down on their luck’, you’ll have noticed that their whole personality seems to be riddled with negative comments and that they have nothing positive to say. It’s quite true that you can’t really hold both a positive and negative feeling at the same time, so by replacing the negative with a positive, it stops you from feeling unhappy as you have come to accept that you are now going to be solely responsible for how you feel, not other people or other external factors.

    Accepting Responsibility

    Once you accept total responsibility for everything that happens to you in life, you will soon discover that this also enables you to find solutions to life’s difficulties far more quickly.

    For example, take work colleagues or someone you are in a personal relationship with. Say you’re having problems with them and it is causing you stress. A negative person who likes to apportion blame might say, “Since I met so and so, it’s been nothing but trouble” whereas somebody who accepts total responsibility might say, “Hang on a moment; I am responsible for having this person or these people in my life. I took that job or I embarked upon this relationship – no-one forced me to.” Therefore, if they’re not happy with the situation and have taken responsibility for it, they are also able to find the solution – in this case, by leaving the job or getting out of an unhealthy relationship.

    Similarly, what about those who are feeling bitter because people earn more than they do. Well, whose fault is that? If you accept total responsibility, then you’ll look to do something about it if it’s important to you. Find out how you can earn more money. Speak to others and find out what it is they are doing differently to you then start applying all that knowledge to make the changes you need to make to create the kind of life you want.

    In accepting responsibility, you are accepting a willingness to develop your character and in doing that, the stronger your character will become and your life will be improved as a consequence.

    You might also like...

    I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man. All he had asked of me is to be true, honest and have integrity. We have had numerous falling outs because I say something that is inconsiderate of his feelings and I'm not sure why I can't seem to stop it before it happens. And then after he's asking why I did it and my answers are ridiculous.Please help

    Lori - 13-Mar-18 @ 1:20 PM

    Lenrock- Your Question:

    Can you help me. After 5yrs of being verbally abusive my wife has sent me this link. Not saying it doesn’t make sense or make excuses but now that you know where I stand can you Help me

    Our Response:

    Why did she send it to you? Was it to excuse her own behaviour or to accuse you of being negative? Sorry it's not clear what you're asking.

    LifeCoachExpert - 26-Jan-18 @ 10:06 AM

    Can you help me . After 5yrs of being verbally abusive my wife has sent me this link . Not saying it doesn’t make sense or make excuses but now that you know where I stand can you Help me

    Lenrock - 24-Jan-18 @ 7:50 AM

    I was sent this link by my wife who after 5yrs of being what I consider verbally abusive. But it’s all my fault is what you’re saying .

    Lenrock - 24-Jan-18 @ 7:44 AM

    I have been victimized.I am not responsible for what has been done to me, I am responsible for healing from it.Part of personal responsibility that gets left out is that it includes the way you treat others.Living by personal responsibility is not an excuse to mistreat others and blame them for causing their own pain.

    Katie - 4-May-17 @ 7:34 AM

    Love the article!! I agree and yes we all have to take responsibility for our own actions. However, my boyfriend constantly makes comments like, "You hurt me. What is your response to that?" I've complained several times and explained that he only needs to focus on his responsibilities. Then he started "owing up" and will wait for me to own up to my part in the disagreement. I in turn react by saying, "It's not for you to try to force an apology out of me. If I never apologize it will be alright." I'm not sure he's capable of thinking that he made a choice and took offense or responded a particular way. He defaults to telling me how it was my fault that he feels a particular way.

    SemiMo - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:45 AM

    I agree and yes we all have to take responsibility for our own actions. However, my boyfriend constantly makes comments like, "You hurt me. What is your response to that?" I've complained several times and explained that he only needs to focus on his responsibilities. Then he started "owing up" and will wait for me to own up to my part in the disagreement. I in turn react by saying, "It's not for you to try to force an apology out of me. If I never apologize it will be alright." I'm not sure he's capable of thinking that he made a choice and took offense or responded a particular way. He defaults to telling me how it was my fault that he feels a particular way.

    SemiMo - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:44 AM

    You do have to accept your limitations though...not everyone could run as fast as Usain Bolt even if they put in the same number of years of self discipline, training and hard work as he did/does. That's just ridiculous

    Merlene Ottey - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM

    All I'm seeing in most of these comments are people who still don't get it and are still blaming everyone else and everything else for the things that have happened or are happening in your life in a round about way. And that comment about not being like Usain bolt is just as dumb. You think he was born the fastest man on earth? No. It took years of self discipline, training and hard work to get where he is today. Even at the last Olympics he knew the other Jamaican guy was his competition and a strong contender for his crown so what did he do? He took responsibility for his own life instead of blaming others and trained and disciplined himself with his strict diet and exercise regime in order to ensure he achieved his best and kept his crown.

    She can she will - 10-Mar-17 @ 6:15 AM

    Hello, I hate excuses,yet I find myself making them all the time.I am looking for opportunities to shoulder my responsibilities and finding success in doing so.But if there are situations where you are given things to do under unrealistic deadlines and the end result will suffer one way or the other, when do you draw the line with giving the reason when the poor outcome was already expressed and you were given no other alternative but "this is the way it is, so just get it done" and at the end they are not happy with the outcome?I want take responsibility for my part.Should I take responsibility for theirs as well?Sorry for the novel, but any advice would be appreciated.

    BigM - 25-Jul-16 @ 3:42 PM

    You say... that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself does that mean I can be another Usain Bolt? I can strive towards being a sprinter but I will never be as fast as Bolt. The point I'm making is that sometimes there are very real reason why we can't achieve something (disabilities and the like). You wouldn't expect a colourblind person to be an electrician, but I've read somewhere there is an app now, it obviously isn't the best choice in life for that person. We should take responsibility in our lives, sometimes we do need other people to help us.

    Jan - 19-Mar-16 @ 11:15 PM

    its true my life is my responsibility and the sky is my limit.My own life is characterized by my choices so if some of them fail its my duty to stand up and try something better.

    Hannah - 16-Jan-16 @ 6:51 PM

    It is up to me. That's all there is to it. My life my responsibility

    petey - 19-Dec-15 @ 1:50 PM

    "here is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve,". This is a very bold and huge claim.

    Timothy Holden - 9-Aug-15 @ 11:14 PM

    Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions, you must try to make it right, especially if you hurt someone by taking no responsibility. Put yourself in their place, if they did that to you. Responsibility says it all , like character.

    michelle - 12-Aug-14 @ 8:43 PM

    Great article, you are right.....i must take responsibility, thus allowing me to make changes needed. Not sure what miriam is talking about though? There is equality in all walks if life. Im willing to bet, more attractive females earn more than non. Well spoken earn more than not etc

    Edward - 6-May-12 @ 8:52 AM

    So if male and female coworkers are doing equal work, have worked for a company the same number of years, and have indentical education backgrounds have unequal pay, it is the fault of the gender who consistantly are paid 73% less than their coworker of the other gender?Assumption that both genders are being just as agressive on average asking for raises and promotions.

    Miriam - 6-Feb-12 @ 9:24 PM