Response-Ability

By

Response-Ability
Dr. Romance examines the difference between taking responsibility and taking blame.

Often, people react to the idea of responsibility as they would to the words “fault” or "blame"; as though saying “you're responsible for your life” means “you should feel guilty about your life.” This sense of responsibility is childlike. It reacts and responds as though an angry parent were standing over you saying "Who's responsible for this mess?".

Adult responsibility is something else altogether. It is really response-ability; that is, the ability to respond to life. Rather than placing blame, this way of thinking acknowledges personal power. Response-ability is the capacity to choose. Out of many possible responses, I can always choose the one I make. Response-ability is remembering to be in charge and make careful, thought-out choices.

What seems hard at first for most of my clients is understanding the need to take this kind of responsibility. The expression “taking responsibility” is ironically misleading, because actually we have no choice. We are always responding to situations, even if our response is to do nothing. It does little good to worry about what other people are choosing, because you really haven't any say about it. Your responsibility is to take care of yourself; no one else can do that for you.

When you respond with the best of your ability, and accept and handle whatever consequences you have helped to create, you not only benefit from your choices, but your life and relationships will improve immensely.

Adapted from: Gay Relationships(Tarcher/Putnam) and The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again (Wiley) © Tina B.Tessina, 2007

This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
562-438-8077
Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina
http://www.facebook.com/#!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/rar7RC
 

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Tina Tessina:

Dear Dr. Romance: If I am not strong, I cannot be an example for

By

Dear Dr. Romance: I am mid-thirties mom with 3 children looking to divorce. I read your article "Family Violence Q & A" and I decided to write to you for help to stand on my feet again.  I was a homemaker since I had my first child, but had lived very unfulfilled as my husband (who was my first and only boyfriend) emotionally and verbally ... Read more

Dr. Romance's Guidelines for Not Fighting

By

Fighting a lot? Dr. Romance recommends: No matter what you’re fighting about: money, sex, kids or something else, the fighting is an indication that your communication isn’t working. If this happens only occasionally, such as when one or both of you are tired or stressed; it’s not too big a problem. However, if you argue or bicker on a ... Read more

These Decisions Can Increase Your Happiness

By

When you use smart decisions and self-awareness to shape your life, it will reflect your deepest aspirations and your fondest dreams. Make your life your own. Decide to re-decide. Re-examine your goals and dreams. Don't just assume that what you wanted yesterday is still right for you. Have your goals and dreams changed? Give yourself the freedom to ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS
Latest Expert Videos
Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Most Popular