Response-Ability — Responsibility, redefined.
I read a play on words yesterday that turned my understanding of responsibility completely upside down.
The word was written as “response-ability”, and something about seeing it written down in this way blew my mind…
Often, I’ve felt burdened by the idea of responsibility.
Like it encapsulated all of the things I didn’t want to do, but had to do, if I wanted to be a responsible adult. Things like:
Maintaining the housework.
Being financially responsible.
Being emotionally responsible within my relationships.
Holding down a job.
Taking care of my self-care needs.
It all felt like stuff I had to do, but was being done through slightly gritted teeth — along with an association of it feeling like a bit of a drag.
Like I needed to gear myself up for it all first.
I would say things to myself like –
‘Deep breath. You can do this. You have to. You don’t have a choice. This is just what adults have to do. This is what it means to be an adult – being responsible.’
I felt within my mind that all of the actions I attached to this idea of being responsible were a just natural burden of life. Something I couldn’t get around. They just had to be done, whether I liked, enjoyed, or saw the necessity of them for myself.
Making ‘being responsible’ about what I was doing, and not about who I am resulted in this resistance and reluctance being present. A feeling of being a victim to my circumstances.
Seeing ‘response-ability’ in a new way has been an enlightening realisation.
Responsibility is not about the things we have to do — it is a freedom we take in the way we approach, and respond to what we are faced with.
It is our ability to respond to whatever we are faced with, in whatever way we deem appropriate, for any given situation.
There is nothing in life that can ever take this freedom away from us.
It is a freedom that is eternally available to us.
We are not the helpless victims of our circumstances.
We have this ability to be naturally responsive, and our responses can come in any form.
Sometimes silence, and non-action are appropriate responses to whatever we are faced with.
Realising this means that we can assess whatever information we are presented with, as it comes to us, and respond to it in whatever way feels good to us in that moment.
In whatever way feels authentic, real, and true to who we are in this moment.
We are never bound by external factors in how we respond to whatever we are faced with in our lives — whether it relates to relationships, finances, world events, working commitments, health, household chores, self-care needs or creative endeavours.
There is never a need for any of these things to exist as a source of stress or pressure for us when we can demonstrate our natural response-ability with them.
Lots of love, Shaneen x