The idea of being responsible often conjures up images of dull but sensible people, of commitment, ties to others and being boring, lacking spontaneity, being weighed down and generally other views around lack of freedom. For some the idea of responsibility rings alarm bells and sends them running, others feel it as a shackle that ties them down and some people just never seem to accpet it.

To have responsibility according to the dictionary "is to be responsible", which is further defined as "liable to be called to account, morally accountable for actions". This ties in with the belief around cause and effect, accepting the consequence of our actions. Keeping that definition in mind lets add to it with another definition from a new angle.

The word responsibility could be said to be derived from two words, response and ability. It is our ability to respond to our external environment. The ability in itself is a gift, as are all our abilities. How we choose to respond becomes a choice, it is within our control. Responsibility could be argued to be a gift of choice or free will.

Over To You

Free will means that we do what we like. Free will means that you are allowed to think for yourself. You make your own decisions. Free will takes away restrictions. Not using our ability to respond is therefore a way of denying ourselves freedom as we allowing ourselves to be pushed around by our environment, as others make decisions for us and thereby, unwittingly, making ourselves victims of circumstances.
It is important to keep this in mind when we are being 'helpful' to others by doing things for them. You may consider it a act of kindness or love to prompt others to remember important dates or things they are supposed to do. You may consider it parental love every time you pick up the pieces when your children make mistakes or do something wrong, even when our children are grown and possibly married themselves!
Consider it instead as a way of stealing from the other person. You are taking away an opportunity for that person to develop their sense of self, to stand on their own two feet, to increase their dignity and independence.
Some people would argue that we cannot have true free will as there must be some structure and rules within society. This is also true but the choice to live within those rules and accept authority also comes under our free will. We choose whether we will conform within our society or not.

Bringing it Together

If you bring both definitions together you get the ability to respond to your environment, while also accepting the outcome of your actions.
To take responsibility is therefore a way of embracing our free will and accepting our life's outcome is as a result of our actions and no-one elses. It is both a burden and freedom.
Everything that happens to us now and in the future is down to ourselves. We are given an opportunity for growth through our own actions, whether we make mistakes and learn from them or succeed straight away. An exciting but scary time awaits; a true adventure in life. Once again responsibility becomes scary!
Go on then, I dare you, enjoy your life responsibly. Enjoy your responsibility.

Author's Bio: 

Jacky Tustain offers personal coaching to help those people struggling with their lives to re-assess their life priorities, work out what they want in life, set themselves goals and put them into action. Good coaching is about helping you get results, this often starts with learning to believe in yourself and building your confidence. Why not have a no obligation chat with Jacky? Check out for more information.