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When You Realize You Have Complete Responsibility For Your Life, You Become Completely Free

When You Realize You Have Complete Responsibility For Your Life, You Become Completely Free

You are in your apartment on a Saturday morning, snuggled under the covers. No one is going to tell you to get up. You don’t have to ask your parents’ permission to sleep until noon. Whether you choose to stay nestled under the blankets or throw back the covers and start your day, you are responsible for your own life. When you realize you no longer have to ask anyone’s permission to live and the decisions are now yours to make, you become completely free. Free to stay in bed all day. Free to get up and follow your dreams. You are also free to make mistakes, learn from failures and accept the consequences of your actions.

Release yourself from the blame game

Taking responsibility for your life means that you need to stop playing the blame game. It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming: blaming the current government for the lack of money in your paycheck, blaming cold tennis balls for a poorly played tennis match, or blaming red lights for your late arrival at work. The time has come to accept responsibility for your actions. Do you need to practice tennis more? Leave earlier for work or take another route? And as for your paycheck, the tax system was established long before the current presidency. Maybe it’s time to look into whether claiming allowances for dependents could reduce the amount of taxes taken from your pay. Maybe you need to ask for a raise or even change your job.

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By ascribing your faults to others, you are handing over control of your life. The only thing blaming others achieves is to make you feel powerless, a victim of circumstance.

Rescue yourself from the trap of the victim mentality. It will never serve you well in the long run. Do you want to be that person tied to the train tracks, waiting for a hero to swoop to your rescue, or would you rather pop out your handy Swiss Army knife, cut the ropes and defeat the villain yourself? Heroes always have more fun, and they reap the rewards in the end.

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Also, realize that there are things that are beyond your personal control, such as a snow storm or the outcome of the presidential elections. However, you do have power over how you react to those situations. To paraphrase the words of Charles R. Swindol: Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it. The next time you begin to place the blame elsewhere, stop and think. Shoulder your responsibility. Like lifting weights, doing this will make you stronger.

Build your self-esteem

Becoming responsible for your life and your choices builds self-confidence. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. You are no longer the victim, tossed around by someone else’s whims. As Steve Jobs said, “Stop living someone else’s dream and start living your own.”  When you have taken charge of your life, you have the ability to chart your own course. Owning your destiny is a heady, powerful feeling.

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Beware the fear-monger

Be aware of the nay-sayer inside of you. Everyone has one: that voice that tells you to be afraid of stuff. “Don’t jump off the high-dive,” the voice says, “it’s too scary; don’t ask that girl out, she’ll probably laugh at you; don’t send in that manuscript, it’s not good enough.” It’s an evil little voice that dwells in the negative zone. It wants you to be afraid of rejection and paralyzed by fear. It is afraid of letting you take control. Don’t listen to the fear-monger inside. Once you gain more confidence, those negative thoughts tend to shrink and the sway of the nay-sayer within diminishes.

Become the captain of your life

Once you understand that you can be free when you take complete responsibility for your life, you will unlock the shackles that have been preventing you from doing things you may have never even imagined. You have control. Total control. You are the captain of your life, and you can steer it in any direction you choose. You can even decide to drop the anchor and not go anywhere at all. Ditch the blame game and choose not to be the victim. Accept that failure can happen. Everyone makes mistakes. Face the consequences and move forward. Dare to dream, and make those dreams come true. Be the hero of your own life.

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Featured photo credit: Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

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Sally White

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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