Responsibility is simply the ability to respond at any time and to any situation in a way that honors you as a person and supports you in your relationships with others.
Contrast this with how we have been trained to view responsibility. Responsibility does not involve blame, fault, or burden. Not being responsible does not connote shame, guilt or unworthiness. It does not involve a value judgment subject to someone's opinion about how you "should" do something or how someone ought to run their lives.
Responsibility instead involves taking full acceptance for every event, relationship, action and situation that occurs in your life. It is not "true" that you bring about everything that shows up around you in life. It is merely an interpretation that everything you do, whatever you have in your life, and how you show up for others is your creation. This posture is one you can take on to empower you to be the source of what happens to you in life. Being responsible means that there are no victims created by events in life. In some way, consciously or not, deliberately or by accident (and there are no accidents), every person, circumstance, event or challenge we encounter in life is the result of decisions we have made.
This is not to say that events do not occur that are outside of the scope of our influence. Such situations certainly do take place. To say that we are responsible for everything that happens around us is simply a declaration that supports us to be in choice. It is a place we stand as we invoke our personal power to choose.
Responsibility is always in the present, never about the past. It is simply a place to stand from which to look at the world as you make a choice about some action you may take. It does not make anyone wrong or at fault. And it does not involve manipulation.
When any situation occurs which touches our lives, taking responsibility means that we take the interpretation that it simply occurred as opposed to the interpretation that it happened to us. Having responsibility implies that you are the designer and builder of who you are, what you have and what you do. And, since it's your creation, you get to change it if what you see around you is not to your liking.
Taking responsibility means giving up your right to make others wrong while saying what you need to say to forward the action without harboring ill feelings or thoughts of resentment or getting back at the person in some way.
People who take responsibility are empowered to respond to any situation with a self assured, personal power and knowledge that they can affect change. Remember, you are the source for what you attract in the world. Claim responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life and decide to take the necessary steps to impact what shows up around you.
Dr. Joe Rubino is an internationally acclaimed trainer, author, success coach and the CEO of The Center For Personal Reinvention. Learn more at http://www.centerforpersonalreinvention.com.