Author Sage Cohen has a phrase I fell in love with: “relentlessly self-responsible.” I also am enamored of the concept of “internal locus of control.” Both of which are fancy ways to talk about the simple idea that your life is on you. What you do and how you react to what happens is up to you. Your happiness is your responsibility.
I have known too many people who decided not to believe this, and have had times where I decided not to either, not to admit how toxic it is when you don’t show up to own your own life.
However. A wise friend pointed out a sneaky trap to this.
I can often define why I’m upset (a difficult enough process in itself). But I then blame myself for the whole situation, or argue myself out of my feelings.
Sometimes, yes, it’s my fault. And sometimes, yes, I overreact. But sometimes those feelings are there for a reason.
Sometimes, the useful response is, rather than assuming hyperresponsibility for the entire situation, rather than assuming the invalidity of my own feelings… recognizing upset feelings as a red flag and taking responsibility only for getting myself the F out of that situation.
It may not be my fault the world is on fire, and it may not be my job to get everyone else out. It may only be my job to get myself out.
Responsibility. Not irresponsibility, not overresponsibility. Just responsibility.