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  • Natalie Schiebener

Powerful Questions Podcast: Are you taking blame or responsibility?



I think what often stops people from taking responsibility for their own lives is the unwillingness to take the blame for what happened to them. It might seem that if you take responsibility, you also admit that what happened was your fault. That it was you who caused it. But there is a huge difference between taking blame and taking responsibility. And, what is even more important – if you take responsibility, it does not automatically mean that you are taking the blame.


How do you recognize that you are at any given moment not taking responsibility? There are several signs that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Looking towards the past, thinking about what has happened instead of what you want to do next to fix the situation.

  • Searching for something or someone who is at fault: your boss, parents, partner, the pandemic or the current economic situation.

  • Beating yourself up because you think that you are at fault. You might be partially at fault in the situation, but there are usually several factors involved.

  • Making up excuses for yourself.

  • Complaining and ruminating.

  • Taking things personally, assuming that what other people have done is about you and was done intentionally to hurt you.


If you are, however, taking responsibility, here’s how that would look like:

  • Looking towards the future, thinking about what you want to achieve or change.

  • Taking action – taking concrete steps to reach that aspired state.

  • Focusing on what you can influence rather than complaining about what you cannot change.

  • Not looking for anyone to blame or to punish for what has happened.


So how do you move to really taking responsibility in your life?


Think about the future. Don’t focus on the past – what has happened, has happened. You cannot change the past. But think about your current situation and what it is exactly that you are not happy about. Think about what your goal would be – what would you like to have instead? Set the intention on what you are going to do to change what you are unhappy about.


I know how hard it is sometimes to stop blaming or just stop being unhappy about something that was done to you. It happens often in life that we suffer from things that are not our fault and that are not fair at all. But where does it really get you? It brings you nothing except that you feel more and more unhappy. You just continue keeping yourself in that frustrated state.


Take responsibility for right now. Remember that you are responsible for what you are doing in this moment. Whether you are ruminating about the past or taking steps to build your future. Whether you are thinking negative thoughts or positive thoughts. Whether you are complaining or taking responsibility to change what you are unhappy about.


Start small. Think about what are the small steps that you can take to achieve the desired state. There are lots of things that we cannot change and at times they might seem overwhelming. But what CAN you influence? What CAN you change? What is it in YOUR powers to do?


Take care of yourself. Making sure that you are in a good state of mind and body is the first step to taking responsibility I all other areas of your life. Being in a good place physically and mentally makes it easier for you to deal with setbacks, uncertainty and challenges that the life throws at you. If you find yourself unable to do anything else from what I named here, start with taking care of yourself and making sure that you feel healthy and rested.


Remember, the only person who is stopping you from taking responsibility, is you. The only person who is stopping you from achieving your full potential, is you. The only person, who can help you turn things around and star taking responsibility in your life is you.

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