Emotional Responsibility

January 5, 2016

Emotional responsibility includes being accountable for not only our actions and behaviors, but also our thoughts and our feelings. In short, our existence.

Throughout our lives, the majority of the time that we are talking to others we are actually talking about ourselves. Although we think we are giving an opinion on something or someone else, we are actually projecting on and attributing to others the responsibility for how we feel. 

The majority of the comments that we make about others are, in reality, feeble and disguised statements about ourselves.

For that reason, our reading of others can be a true reflection of what happens to us. The external speaks to us and serves as a mirror, if we are ready to see what unresolved issues we hold within.

Isn’t it time to take responsibility?

“You are responsible for how I feel”

We have grown accustomed to placing the responsibility for our emotions on others, just as we feel responsible for how others feel. This means we are redirecting the focus somewhere else instead of putting it on ourselves.

This way, if someone around us does not feel good, we feel responsible and try to do something to make that person feel better, as if we had a formula to solve the suffering of others. On the other hand, when we ourselves are feeling bad, we transfer the responsibility for that feeling outwards, either onto another person or on to the external situation.

To whom are we giving the control of our own emotions?

Taking responsibility for the emotions of others can be a huge undertaking for our individual development, just as displacing how we feel by looking for others to take the blame. Well, not exactly the blame, but rather the emotional “paperwork,” the emotional responsibility.

How many times have you said, You make me angry” or “You make me feel bad”? 

It is not about finding someone to blame, but rather about identifying how you feel when faced with certain situations and accepting who you are and how that makes you feel. You have to begin to process your rage, your jealousy, your anger or your sadness because the answers are not outside, but inside.

Let’s stop looking around and outside of ourselves, and turn our attention to our internal reality, and keep growing. 

If you don’t take responsibility of your emotions, who will? The others around you? The situation? Too much, and too unstable, right?

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t express yourself and show how you feel with respect to others. But rather that you should take responsibility of how you feel and instead of giving up the control of your wellbeing, take up the reins and control it yourself. 

You have every right to be bothered by something that has happened, just as every other person does; it’s ok to feel that way. But if you take charge of it, everything will be more satisfactory because you will find yourself in the midst of a process of personal growth and discovery, in which each difficult moment originates from either other people or a specific situation but regardless will be an opportunity to get to know yourself even better.

This also happens when we talk about the people around us. I invite you to try to be slightly more conscious of all of this whenever you are sharing an opinion about someone or criticizing someone else. Most of the time, what you are saying is something that you are also guilty of, or something that you also have experienced or felt at some time.

“I will take responsibility for how I feel”

What can we do about all of this?

First, we must accept the possibility that we are actually projecting ourselves on others. This is no easy task, but if we keep it in mind and find ourselves doing it, it is because in the moment we are not able to accept whatever it is we are projecting, so we transfer it elsewhere. Therefore, it’s apparent that we tend to resist accepting responsibility for our actions. Next, we must become truly aware.

“You don’t make me mad, I become angry when you do something, or when something happens.” “I am the one who feels anger, sadness, or rage when faced with different circumstances that present themselves in life and I don’t reject them or avoid them, but rather I let myself feel them, and accept them to later see what it is I can do about them. But more than anything, I am responsible for myself.” 

When we take responsibility for ourselves, we accept all that which belongs to us: the property of our feelings, our thoughts, our actions, and their consequences.

Once you become aware and able to observe yourself, you discover all the things yet undone, all the things you can add into your life. You can work with these things to continue evolving and growing. But I will warn you, it will not be easy. You will often find yourself faced with contradictions, given that your ego will want to protect itself.

But maybe that is the beauty of it, the process of discovering yourself with strong assertions and difficult contradictions to finally accept each as part of yourself and who you are.