the ability of responsibility

My spring break was nice, but deep in my heart I had zero intention of updating the blog over it, and so I didn’t. I’ve been having a little revolution inside of me, perhaps for the past year, that keeps poking out from time to time. The revolution is simple: I’m going to do what I want, and I’m going to own it.

As a young adult in an environment of uncertainty, anger, and fear, it’s easy to shut down. The world seems too much, so why deal with it? It’s the strain of defense that drives people into obsessions with TV shows and celebrities or leads people to dive headfirst into their job and ignore the rest. With our growing understanding of how psychology works, there’s plenty of ways to make compromises.

It is here that another person might begin a rant against “snowflakes” and argue about the nonsensical nature of safe spaces and so forth. I will not, partly because I’m a liberal snowflake myself, but also because the issue isn’t that people need to just “suck it up”. Frankly, ignoring emotions and stonewalling communications leads to serious mental health issues and broken relationships. Mental illness is rising in prevalence, partly due to social media that brings in a ridiculously high level of standard to compare oneself to.  We face problems in a new age, and we need to adapt to them.

Yes, our families, friends, environment, these all mess us up. No matter how wonderful the circumstances are, there are always problems. One of the strongest things we can do is realize that we are flawed. Things out of our control have brought a flurry of issues to each of us. However, those issues do not define us. As little or at great as we can, we can make a difference in our lives. There are things out of our control, but there are also things that are in our control.

Hopefully, my advice feels bipartisan: what makes the difference is taking responsibility. This is in both our accomplishments and our failures because we each have both. That rude comment? That was your fault. That awesome shot? That was your practice. That missed assignment? That was your decision. That fulfilling relationship? You are a part of making that relationship what it is.

We cannot assume others have the same capabilities as us. Some demons are bigger through another’s eyes. If someone is struggling, it doesn’t matter if you don’t see it as a big deal. It is to them. The same is true for our accomplishments. If you think you are a horrible person who has done nothing right, you’re wrong. Everyone has done a good deed, made someone happy, made this world a better place in at least one small, important way.

If you have made a mistake, congratulations! You are a human being. Maybe you were awkward. Maybe you were mean. Maybe you were even cruel. If you ignore the flaw, it won’t go away. Instead, we have to deal with it. We have to look it straight in its face and try to get up the courage to ask why it’s there in the first place.

Taking responsibility is hard, and sometimes it’s difficult to see where the line is between your fault and external events. However, whatever small part of the issue was yours, own it. If you did a tiny corner in a beautiful mural, that is your corner. We can often live our lives passing on the blame and recognition because we don’t want the responsibility of our actions, but it matters. You’re doing your best, recognize it in all its glory.

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