Taking personal responsibility simply means that you accept the fact that you are the cause of all that is good and all that is dysfunctional or painful in your life. It means that you can see yourself as the doer and not the victim of your circumstances. It means that you stop blaming others or events for your situation and firmly take your life in your own hands. James Allen, in his classic book "As a Man Thinketh" put it this way: "A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life, and as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition and builds himself up on strong and noble thoughts".
There is also a very powerful psychological principle at work when you take total responsibility for your circumstances. It is simply this: when you blame others or outer conditions for your situation, you give away your personal power. When your job is to blame for your poverty or your spouse is to blame for your unhappiness, you have no power to change the situation. They are making you poor or unhappy. They are controlling you. However, when you take the responsibility to say "I made this situation by myself. If I don't like it I can make a different situation", you have just taken the power back into your own hands. If you are responsible for being poor, you have the power to change it. If you are responsible for being in a bad relationship, you may work on it or, if need be, end it and find a new one. You have stopped living in the problem and have started living in the solution. By taking responsibility for yourself and only yourself, you are taking the power away from people and things to control you. You are now the master and not the slave of your life. The doer and not the victim of your circumstances. As Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying "I don't wait for circumstances to happen, I make them happen". Napoleon was a doer.
Now, in order for you to make this work for you, it is essential for you to understand one thing, which is: you are only responsible for yourself and no one else. It is not enough to tell your boss "I am responsible for me so change my working conditions". Or with your spouse "I am responsible for this problem, but you are responsible for that problem". This only has the effect of taking power to yourself and giving it away again. It is push and pull at the same time. Taking personal responsibility means that you are willing to change your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Remember, your job is not to reform anyone else. Your job is to take your life into your own hands and be your own master. This is an inner game. When you find yourself blaming someone or something for your misfortunes, STOP, go back and see what you did or did not do to have created the situation that you are in. You may not be able to control a situation but, you can control how you respond to it.
Any self-improvement program starts in the mind. It starts with a thought. It starts with you deciding to change your consciousness and to start thinking, feeling and acting differently. As James Allen said "As you think so you are. As you continue to think so you remain". Remember, you are the only thinker in your head. Make the best of your thoughts.
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