The word "responsibility" is the offspring of two parent words, "Response" and "ability". This gives it the definition, the ability to respond. Most of the time, we think we understand the meaning of the word but in reality, we don't.
|Photo from here.|
Why do I say so? Well, we claim we can take the consequences of our actions, choose how to let these consequences affect us (respond) but once the consequences - those we haven't anticipated, 'cause let's admit it: there are consequences we anticipate but most of the time that's not what we "get" - reveal themselves, we tend to point fingers (react) just so we won't feel bad for not seeing them.
Let me paint you picture: You are in a relationship with the man/woman of your dreams (or so you claim). You swore to the high heavens that you will take care of the relationship, nurture it and give it your all but you don't. You do the exact opposite of all those things: You spend more time with anyone else except your partner, not necessarily sleeping with them, claiming that you need some quality time with the boys/girls. When you are with him/her, you embarrass him/her in front of your friends, trying hard to make your friends laugh. You put his/her dreams at the backseat while you force yours to him/her, thinking it's the best for the both of you. When your partner decides to break the relationship off, you cry and beg to be taken back. You blame other people for not telling you you're not doing a spectacular job at being a boyfriend/girlfriend. You blame your partner for moving on too quickly. That's reacting to the situation.
We react, rather than respond to the situation we're in.
There's nothing wrong with reactions. In fact, most people would consider instinct to be more reliable and to an extent, that is true. Upon meeting someone, somewhere in your mind, an alarm goes off. Don't ever ignore that because no matter how much you'd want to make yourself believe he/she's someone you'd want to be involved with, you'll just disappoint yourself in the end. That is one example where reactions are a good thing.
What about responses, you ask? Let's say that person you took a leap of faith for ends up physically abusing you. Yes, he/she did all the hitting and punching and abusing but you have two choices: you either stay and just blame him/her for all the hurt you are feeling to rid yourself off of the decision to pack your bags and be single yet again or you decide to actually walk away from that abusive relationship. That is when responsibility for yourself comes in.
I overheard a conversation between two women once. Both of them have the same conclusion to their fairly different situations:
"Mas madaling magreklamo."
I wanted to sit with them and give them my two cents but them being my mom and my grandma (father's side), I stopped myself. I chose to respond, than react to the situation.
Anyway, I think taking responsibility of all my actions and whatever it is I feel is the easier choice in the long run than complaining and blaming it on other people. It gives me the unique advantage of 1) looking at the situation objectively, - which is always good when it comes to a he-says-she-says type of situation, and yes, even if you are one of those two who wants to be heard - 2) give an honest-to-goodness take on the situation - it makes me realize if and when I'm wrong and actually admit it to the other party without holding back anything - and 3) it rids me of that heavy feeling on my chest whenever I get mad. In the end, it's a win-win situation: I get what I need from it all and the other party understands better - hopefully - the situation.