You know, with great power comes great responsibility. That’s a great quote, but it has an underrepresented sibling: With great responsibility comes great power.
Right off the bat, I want to make one thing clear. Responsibility is not the same as blame, or fault. Responsibility is so much more. The word itself contains the meaning, response-ability. The ability to respond. More than that, the obligation to respond.
A drunk driver hits a loved one and kills them instantly. Devastating. It’s obvious who’s to blame, really. But who is responsible for the aftermath?
Who’s responsible for the ensuing depression, the sorrow, the empty spot your loved one used to occupy?
More often than not, people shirk responsibility. As if it’s something to be feared, something that weighs you down.
And in the common usage of the word, no wonder. It’s often used negatively. “Who is responsible for this?!” is thrown about in times of trouble. It’s confused with fault. “Who’s fault is this?!” is often more appropriate. But even fault is relatively unrelated to responsibility.
Responsibility is voluntary, fault is not. The drunk driver in the example above will always be at fault, whether he decides to take responsibility for what he’s done or not.
You may not be at fault for the bad things that life has thrown at you, but you can certainly choose to take responsibility for them. That means accepting things for what they are, forgiving whoever or whatever you perceive to be at fault (be aware though, perception can be deceiving), and taking action to make the situation better, in any way possible.
It means not waiting for someone else to help you, in fact it means not even wasting the mental energy on who you believe should make up for whatever happened to you.
If there is any way you can make it more likely that the person at fault will take responsibility, like calling them out on it, or actually talking to them, do it. But if there’s nothing you can do, let it slide. If amends are to be made, they will be made whether you brood on it or not.
As I’ve alluded to in many posts, I was very ill for the last two years. It was a major complication with a medication I had taken for many years, and at first I blamed doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hell, even society as a whole.
But two years is a long time. I had time to see what all that brooding and blaming and hating was doing to me in the long run, and I didn’t like it.
I started to realize that if I ever wanted to get out of this mess, get my health back, and protect the people I loved from experiencing the same catastrophe, I would have to take responsibility for myself. For my own health, wealth, and happiness.
So that’s what I did, and here I am now. My health is getting better every day, in fact every single aspect of my life has improved since the fateful decision to take on the great responsibility of being.
Well of course, with great responsibility comes great power.
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