Accept 100% Responsibility For Your Life

I’m not one to gossip about others, but today I wanted to talk about girl I once dated. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call her Chloe.

The reason I’m going to talk about her today is because she’s a perfect example of someone who doesn’t take 100% responsibility in her life. Let me explain…

Playing the Blame Game

Chloe likes to play what I call “the blame game.” She has the totally predictable habit of blaming every single thing that goes wrong in her life on other people. It doesn’t matter how big or how small of a problem we’re talking about here- it’s always somebody else’s fault.

Not sure what I’m talking about? OK, let me try to explain. Towards the end of our relationship, I received a call from Chloe late on a Saturday night. While I was in bed reading a book, she was out partying, getting drunk, and was now behind the wheel putting people’s lives in danger.

Obviously, I was pretty concerned about getting her to pull over or to tell me where I could come get her. Instead of listening to me, Chloe decided to go on ten minute rant, saying how I was responsible for everything that was wrong with her life. The kicker comment was when she blamed me for “making” her drive drunk.

Here I was… in my house all night long, sober as a preacher on Sunday. I hadn’t spoken to her all evening. I wasn’t drinking with her. Nor did I put the car keys in her hands. Yet she was blaming me for her actions.

Like I said, I’m not one to say negative things about people, but as I was writing this article, this incident provided the perfect example of…

…The Victim Mentality

There are plenty of people like Chloe out there in the world. There’s actually a term used to describe this behavior- people who believe that anything and everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault are thought to have a “Victim Mentality.”

The Victim Mentality is related to your locus of control. Locus of control refers to “your perception of the underlying main causes of events in your life.” Yeah, I know, this sounds like a bunch of psychological mumbo-jumbo, but it’s actually pretty easy to understand.

Your locus of control works in one of two ways: either you know that you control your own destiny, or you feel that external forces such as fate, luck, God, or other people control your destiny.

If you’re able to realize that your life (and most things that happen to you) is under your own control, you have an internal locus of control. If the shoe is on the other foot and you believe that other people or other things control you (the way Chloe does) you have an external locus of control.

Developing an Internal Locus of Control

More people should try to develop the internal locus of control frame of mind.

I’m not trying to say that it’s your fault if a hurricane floods your house or a tornado rips your roof off. It’s probably not your fault if a waitress brings you the wrong food at dinner, either.

Obviously stuff like that happens, but that’s not the point. For the most part, you have control over your own life … it’s your life, after all!

Realizing that you are totally responsible for your own well-being and happiness can initially be a little intimidating.

It’s Up to YOU

Remember how you felt after moving out on your own for the first time? It’s exciting, but also enough to freak you out a little bit at first.

When I broke away from the nine-to-five world to work for myself, everything was on my shoulders. If I wanted money to pay bills and eat, I had to run things for myself. It was all up to me, it wasn’t up to anyone else. I made the decision to break out on my own; no one else made up my mind for me.

Accepting total responsibility for your own actions and your own life does force us to get out of our comfort zones, but that’s okay. If we never pushed ourselves or tried harder or felt a little uncomfortable, we probably wouldn’t accomplish much of anything, and no one wants that.

Internalize All Results and Consequences

The best thing you can do is develop an internal locus of control mindset in all situations.

If you wind up hating your job, you should realize that you’re the one who accepted the position.

If you aren’t too fond of your car after a couple years … well, you’re the one that purchased it.

You don’t have to become some kind of negative person. That’s not the point. You’re also going to realize that anytime you accomplish something great, it’s because you worked hard to get what you want!

Take my advice. Developing an internal locus of control can be one of the best things you could ever do for your self-growth. If you don’t, you’ll be one of those people who walk around blaming others for their misery. You’ll be that negative person nobody likes. You’ll be another Chloe.

Take Action. Get Results.

7 thoughts on “Accept 100% Responsibility For Your Life”

    • Oh no…she always did her best to make me feel guilty. Whenever something went, wrong it was always “Steve’s fault.” I definitely agree that you can become a much better person when you stop blaming others for your shortcomings. It’s not always easy, but the end result is important.

  1. Good advice Steve. I have found myself saying things like this at times. And I catch myself and say, why am I blaming this on someone else? It is either no ones fault, my own fault, or really not that person’s fault.

    It is a lot easier said than done obtaining a more internal locus of control, but it will definitely make you a better person. Blaming someone is really just trying to get the immediate pain, or failure, off of your shoulders. But it only short term.

    I liked this post Steve, good work!
    .-= Patrick Toerner´s last blog ..10 More WordPress Plugins I Can’t Live Without =-.

    • I agree. This is something I’m constantly catch myself. I’ll still bitch and complain, then catch myself for caving in and blaming others for stuff that’s within my control.

  2. Steve,

    Excellent ideas here, and one of my own passions in life. Self-responsibility. It took me awhile to let go of the blame game, and I also went through a relationship similar to yours with Chloe. In fact, I’ve learned that the more you help someone with a victim mentality, the more aggressive and destructive they become – toward you! I understand that it’s their defense mechanism, how they protect themselves from the pain of really looking at themselves, but if you don’t set those boundaries as you describe, you will be the bad guy forever. Took me awhile to work out of that negative situation, but I learned a tremendous amount, and a good deal of it was about taking responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, and actions. So much freedom in that!

    Thanks for a great post.


  3. Your situation sounds really similar to mine. Some people don’t really want help. Instead, they want to be treated with the “it’s not your fault” kind of treatment. But often it’s better to walk away from a person like this and leave them alone to their self-destructive behavior.

  4. Who was the guy in the concentration camp that said you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it?
    reminds me of “Don’s Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff)” one of the most helpful books I ever read as far as attitude is concerned. It taught me not to get into ‘blame mongering’ as that divides you and puts your focus on the problem, but to instead build the habit of asking ‘what can we do about it?’ since that gets you on the same side and puts the focus on the solution.
    I know in a toxic relationship with a professional victim that’s not an easy task, but at least you had the sense to walk away even though it was painful for you both.
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Investing in Junk Coins by Keith Hamburger =-.

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