Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So You Think You're A Responsible Person

If you're reading this you probably think of yourself as a responsible person. I know I do.

The thing is, what does it really mean to be responsible? I was taught that being responsible meant doing what you said you would do. A responsible person is certainly reliable.

It turns out, I took on responsibility that wasn't really mine to take, and failed to take real responsibility for myself. Being a somewhat slow learner (read "hard headed,") it took a painful divorce (yes, that's redundant expression) to get me to rethink the issue of responsibility.

For most of my life I had this idea that if I made other people happy, like say, a husband or parents, then he/they would make me happy.

If you please the teacher, you certainly get good grades. So I guess I extrapolated my academic success to the rest of my life.

Turns out it doesn't work that way. It's technically impossible.

I now realize I am responsible for myself, my own happiness, and for raising my children to the best of my ability. I do not have the power to make anyone else happy. Simply can't be done.

And this has what to do with communication?

When you accept that you are only responsible for your own happiness, you cease to be a people pleaser. You also stop trying to control others. You give them permission to disagree with you.

And that makes you a powerful communicator.