If you are like me and the men that I have helped in my coaching practice, you’ve had a fair deal of crap thrown your way when you were a child. As a boy, nothing was your fault. However, as an adult, everything is your responsibility.
What’s the difference? Fault is about placing blame. It may be true that your father was unavailable for you, or that your mother smothered the daylights out of you, or that you had no positive male role models. However, you will find that as an adult, dwelling on who to blame and mentally rehearsing over and over again who did what to you is pointless. It does nothing to move your life forward in a meaningful direction.
Responsibility is as about power. When you accept how the past has affected you, release the blame and accusations, and accept that fact that it is within your power to change yourself and change your life – that is where real healing happens. Fault is when I catch myself obsessing about how my father verbally shamed me and ruined my self-esteem. Responsibility is when I admit to myself that I have issues with toxic shame and then do my affirmations. Fault is about controlling the past and other people – neither of which are in your power to control. Responsibility is 100% on you. With responsibility, everything is in your power to control.
Great teachers like Dr. Jordan Peterson have always stressed that Radical Responsibility is one of the prime keys to manhood. What makes responsibility so important? It is because responsibility is personal power. Blaming others is weakness, even if it was their fault.
Let me give you an example of one of my most brutal self-assessment journal entries. At the time I was struggling with a nonexistent social life. Here’s my entry.
- Problem: Nonexistent social life, limited social connections.
- Radical Responsibility – in what ways am I acting or not acting in order to contribute to the problem?
- Am I particularly outgoing?
- Am I particularly warm/kind to people when I meet them?
- Do I go out of my way to meet new people and try new things?
- Very rarely
The above may seem a lot like self-deprecation or self-blame, but it nothing of the sort. As I was able to prove to myself – my social isolation was entirely my doing. People with healthy social lives and ample social connects don’t do the things that I did – they behave differently. This kind of brutal self-assessment has empowered me to be more conscious of my bad habits and create new social habits that have developed into a vibrant social life for me.
I want to stress this point again, taking 100% responsibility (which I call Radical Responsibility) for something does NOT mean that everything is your fault. If someone is a complete jerk to you, please place blame where it belongs – with them! However, taking responsibility means asking yourself, “why do people tend to pick on me so frequently? Am I unconsciously making myself a human magnet for such people and their poor treatment?”
Through such brutally honest self-assessments, you may find that you often look down when you speak to people or appear to lack confidence. You may find that you don’t stick up for yourself often enough, thereby giving narcissists the subliminal queues to verbally attack you.
I’ve had former friends that blamed other people for why they weren’t rich or why they had such crappy jobs. I’ll never forget one such former friend who used to always blame “rich people” for everything. He would go on and on about “those rich fucks.” I never bothered to ask him what his definition of “rich” actually was.
In the meanwhile, I was working so hard on my career that I landed my first six-figure job. One night my girlfriend and I met him for dinner, and he started going off about “those rich fucks,” again, except this time he added the detail of “and those people who are earning six-figures.” Unbeknownst to him, I was now one of those “rich fucks” that he hated so much.
Of course, I dropped him as a friend immediately, but by now you see my point. Losers love to point fingers and blame their situation, their past and other people. Losers stand at the off-ramps and beg for change. They make it their full-time jobs, instead of putting foot-to-ass every day to get a job and support themselves. “I’ve had a hard live and never had a fair shot, it’s everyone else’s job to pay up,” they say. I never give money to street-beggars and I never will!
Guys: victimology is unmasculine. There, I said it. You’re sad, fat and bad with women because as a boy you never got a fair shot. We’ve got that covered. NOW, what are you going to do about it, given that it’s your life?!