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The Importance of Personal Responsibility

Margit Cathrine Moller

The news about the admission of Arnold Schwarzenegger that he has a child with a former staff member which led to his divorce from Maria Shriver reminds me of something that is very important in our process towards growth and maturity: personal responsibility.

What does it mean? For me, to accept personal responsibility is to accept that you are the one solely responsible for the choice in your life. Nobody can be blamed. Some may influence you, others may coerce you. But in the end, you made a choice and you are responsible for it. You cannot blame alcohol or drugs or pills. There were prior choices you made. You own that responsibility.

But it also means that you are responsible for what you choose to feel or think. Anger comes, as most of the negative emotions, because of external stimuli or triggers. But, to stay with anger, to allow anger to dictate your actions – those are choices to make. To continue to think so low of yourself is a choice you make, and you are responsible for that.

Lastly, personal responsibility means accepting that only you can direct the course of your life. Nobody can guide your life without your consent. Nobody can destroy you without your consent. Not even God can save you without your desire.

All these constitute a simple thing called personal responsibility. And as the news today reveal, it is not that simple at all.