How to Improve Your Emotional Responsibility

Emotional responsibility invites you to become aware of the power of emotions in your relationships.
How to Improve Your Emotional Responsibility

Last update: 19 January, 2022

Emotional responsibility means taking charge, not only of your behavior but also of what you think and feel. In short, of your own existence.

Throughout your life, when you interact with others, most of the time you’re actually talking about yourself. Even though you probably think that you’re talking about them.

Furthermore, you tend to place in others those feelings you’re not prepared to assume yourself. In other words, you project yourself and assign the responsibility for how you feel to others.

Therefore, what you see in others, can, in effect, be a true reflection of what’s happening to you. Their exterior speaks to you and serves as a mirror.

“The greatest day in your life and mind is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

-John C. Maxwell-

Sad woman thinking about prosthetic love

“You’re responsible for how I feel” (personal projection)

You’re used to holding others responsible for your own emotions. At the same time, you tend to take responsibility for how others feel.

Therefore, if someone around you doesn’t feel good, you feel responsible and try to do something about it, as if you have the ability to solve their suffering.

On the contrary, when you’re the one who feels bad, you place the responsibility for that feeling on outside circumstances. For instance, another person or a situation.

The need to take control

Taking responsibility for the emotions of others can place a great burden on your own development. In the same way, it’s just as irresponsible to try and displace your own personal discomfort by projecting it onto others.

  • You must shape your emotional responsibility in order to take control of everything that happens to you. In this respect, the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London (UK) conducted a study that demonstrated when we apply this strategy, we improve our psychological health.
  • You probably often find yourself saying things like“You make me angry” or “You make me feel bad”. If so, it’s time to learn to manage your anger, jealousy, rage, and sadness. You’ll find the answers inside you.

Stop looking outside yourself. Look inside and you’ll continue to grow.

Indeed, if you don’t take charge of your emotions, nobody else will.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should stop expressing yourself and saying how you feel about others. As a matter of fact, it means you take responsibility for how you feel. Hence, instead of handing over your well-being or discomfort to others, grab the reins yourself. Take charge.

Accept your negative emotions but take charge of them

You have as much right to be upset about something that’s happened as anyone else. By taking charge of these emotions, the situation will improve.

That’s because you’ll find yourself in a process of discovery and personal growth.  Furthermore, each discomfort that arises, whether in relation to others or with your own situation, will be an opportunity to continue to get to know yourself.

Otherwise, you’ll always be at the mercy of others and your circumstances. In fact, of everything, except yourself.

For this reason, when you’re giving an opinion or criticizing someone, try to be a little more aware of what you’re saying. Indeed, most of the time, what you’re expressing tends to exist within you and you identify with it.

You have the emotional responsibility to understand how you feel

First, you need to understand that there’s a possibility that you’re projecting yourself onto others. This isn’t easy to accept.

Furthermore, you must accept the fact that you tend to resist taking responsibility for your own reactions.

We should emphasize that being responsible is rather different from being held responsible. Being responsible doesn’t mean that you’re the culprit or the cause of an event. Instead, responsibility implies assuming yourself as an active subject and not a mere object of the will and power that you’ve handed over to another.

“You can feel anger, sadness, or rage due to different circumstances that arise in your life. You shouldn’t reject or avoid these circumstances, but accept them and see what you can do with them. Remember, above all, you’re responsible for yourself.

When you take responsibility, you take on everything that belongs to you. You own your own feelings, thoughts, actions, and the consequences of them.

Woman hugging herself

Once you’re aware of your own emotional reality, you can work with your internal universe to continue evolving and growing. However, keep in mind that this isn’t easy. Often, you’ll find yourself in contradictory situations, since your ego really likes to protect itself.

However, you might find this process of self-discovery to be rather beautiful. You’ll find all of your affirmations and self-deceptions that you’re finally able to integrate within yourself.

An activity to work on your emotional responsibility

There are specific techniques that can help you hold yourself more accountable for what you feel. One of them is to identify which emotion you’ve been experiencing most in the last few days. Have you felt happy? Irritable? Sad?

After you’ve identified it, analyze this emotional state by asking yourself the following questions in the proposed order:

  1. What’s making you feel that way? In this way, you’ll be able to get to know yourself a little more and you’ll know how to identify what specific stimuli provoke certain emotions in you.
  2. How can you control it so that it allows you to improve, both with yourself and others? Answering this question will help you manage your emotions in the most appropriate way.
  3. If your emotion is negative, ask yourself, how can you modify it? By answering this question, you’ll be able to reflect on the role that each emotion plays in you. Then, you can modify your emotional universe in such a way that you’re able to express feelings and attitudes more in line with the situation.
  4. How can you understand the emotions of others without judging them? The ideal would be to ask yourself this question every time you see yourself as holding someone else responsible for what’s happened to you. Or, when you believe you’re responsible for the emotions of others. Finally, remember that, in order to understand others, it’s essential to work on your empathic skills.
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  •  McKay, Gary (2002) How You Feel Is Up To You: The Power of Emotional Choice (Mental Health). Impact