a reader asked me for advice on taking responsibility a while ago. how appropriate that i’m only getting to it now.
responsible action sounds like a lot of work. agreeing to contribute then following through? boring. that’s probably how the Scouts and non-drinkers kill time. i understand.
and just like everything in the history of the world that later backfires, avoiding responsibility seems easy, brilliant, and harmless at the outset.
but whether we’re conscious of it or not, shirking responsibility takes a toll. as you insist on not dealing with the task, it doesn’t disappear. it becomes a parasite, leeching energy and growing bigger. you know when you’re avoiding responsibility and the weight of that knowledge is exhausting.
it’s similar to the Mark Twain quote, “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
@@irresponsibility is a form of dishonesty toward yourself.@@
if you just handle the issue you’ve been avoiding, you don’t need to think of excuses for why it’s not done. you can forget it, move on, and feel the burden evaporate. and in some cases, evading the responsibility is more work than the task itself.
but if you insist on avoidance, others are taking responsibility. and not necessarily how you want. let’s say you never replied to an email because you’re not sure what to say. the other person assumes you don’t want to work together, that you joined a cult, or were abducted by aliens. again you lose. this time it’s a missed opportunity to communicate your thoughts.
plus, taking responsibility is empowering because it puts you back in control. not megalomaniacal control, just light control where you direct your experience. you aren’t pushed around but you’re actively involved in creating your life.
as much as i just want to tell you to get on with whatever you’re avoiding, it is worth understanding why you avoid it. ask yourself what’s at the heart of your aversion. is it the time commitment, the people involved, the overall mission? keep digging around and you’ll see what’s truly irritating you. personally, i avoid certain responsibilities when i don’t care about the cause.
but that waiting-to-get-caught feeling is miserable. treat yourself, don’t cheat yourself.