I have always considered myself a person of high self-reflection abilities. I tend to analyze every single aspect of my life that I can control such, as my actions, decisions, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Too often people look for someone to blame when they should be more conscious of themselves. Certainly, it is important to remain realistic. Human beings are not omnipotent, and there are plenty of things they cannot influence and therefore cannot be responsible for; yet, in the majority of cases, a person has enough power to manage his or her own life and the things that matter the most.
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The concept of responsibility itself is negotiable and relative. The boundaries of personal or moral responsibility are impossible to define, which makes it a primary concern of ethics. Responsibility can be associated with power, trust, and reward or, on the contrary, with burden, blame, punishment, and guilt. It is quite common for people to avoid responsibilities even when it means the lack of entire absence of freedom to make their own decisions. Freedom requires responsibility. Such behavior frequently comes from immaturity and fear of real life. George Washington Carver once said: “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses” (qt. in Meyer 5). Such immature behavior is harmful to an individual and his or her personal growth.
A person is responsible for everything that belongs to him or her, either in a literal or figurative sense. Philosophical meditations apart, there are some cases in which moral obligation is evident. If the existence or well-being of something or somebody requires my assistance, then I become responsible for it. For example, children or pets are unable to provide food for themselves. Thus, I am responsible for the survival of the children and pets living under my roof. Similarly, I am responsible for my car that damaged a neighbor’s lawn, my words that hurt somebody’s feelings, or my actions that made someone miserable.
There are certain limits to responsibility, however. Even the best of us are often powerless to interfere with global processes, natural disasters, or pandemic diseases. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent things from happening or change somebody’s mind, no matter how badly we would like to.
Apart from a person’s responsibility for his or her own life, there are certain spheres about which we should be conscious, even if they seem irrelevant to us. Every human being must be a decent citizen of our planet. This is a shared responsibility of all humanity that consists of small everyday deeds done by every individual. This particular kind of responsibility is hard to grasp as it is almost impossible to trace a single action and its consequences. Committing to such responsibility requires the people to see beyond their own needs and make contributions from which they might not even benefit. It may seem useless, like a drop in the ocean – but for the ocean, every drop is important. Indeed, each generation needs to think globally.
Although most people possess more power of influence than they think, some things are still out of our reach. Responsibility is a curious thing. It might make someone feel powerful and important at one time, but it might also be an impossible burden at another. A person must be able to take control over his or her life and remember that every action or absence of action has its consequences.
Meyer, Joyce. Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviours That Will Energise Your Life. London: Hachette UK, 2013. Print.
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