Responsibility – a big word that’s only ever true when lived.

What a word – Responsibility – it was a word I avoided growing up and whenever it was said I felt a huge pressure, an expectation and as if it were something I would need to live up to constantly. In saying that, was it an actual word I avoided or was it the feeling that came with it that I avoided?

It seemed whenever you did something wrong or whenever something big was coming up, the word responsibility would be thrashed in there almost to scare you. It would pretty much always come in one of ‘those’ talks, almost a dressing down that would be so heavy and serious. Why are we so serious and heavy when it comes to the word responsibility?

I know also that because of how I held the word, I was also running from something when people talked about it when I was young. This wasn’t a one-sided relationship with the word responsibility – I had my hand in there somewhere as well, it’s just that I couldn’t see it.

Travel forward 30 years and here I am with children and supporting them with responsibility. So do I deliver the same as it was for me or do I change it and give them everything I didn’t have? Or more still, do I unwrap what responsibility is for me and then deliver that to them and everyone? I have come to know responsibility very well – I have a relationship with it. I have found it’s not a word to be delivered in a serious and heavy way to make you fear. It’s a word that has a true meaning – a living way for us all to consider.

Responsibility is not about something you need to do, it is about how you are and the quality you are in in every moment. I know you ask, ‘quality?’ Well if I am in a shop selling you something, you can say I have many responsibilities; to pay the rent, be polite, be professional, make sure the product does what it says it does etc. etc. But what if responsibility has nothing to do with doing? What if my first responsibility was for how I am with myself; how loving, how careful, how dedicated I am to feeling etc., knowing that everything I do after that first point carries with it that imprint of love, care and dedication? It’s well worth considering the very fact that how we are with ourselves at any moment carries forward into the doing, so it is about quality first, a quality of being well before a doing. Some may say ‘we just need to get this done’ regardless of the quality, but there is always plenty to do and this will never stop. The only thing that is there to change is how you are, your being.

In this light, responsibility is far greater than we think but yet it’s not a heavy load or something we need to achieve or learn for the first time. It is within us, within our relationship with ourselves that we grow responsibility out and from there it touches everything we do. No serious talks needed, just a living imprint of a step in a relationship with ourselves that then people and children can feel.

Even the word in the ‘Hello’ responsibility can then be felt. Children don’t learn from what you say, they learn from what you do. It’s time to lead the way instead of trying to direct and control. True responsibility is a living way and not just a word we tell someone.




2 thoughts on “Responsibility – a big word that’s only ever true when lived.

  1. Thank you Ray, you have lightened the word for me, you have taken off the weight I once felt, a burden, a duty and left me feeling very clear on what this word responsibility truly represents and for me that is deep care, reconnecting, love and quality.

  2. Yes Sarah I agree. It has taken me a whole lifetime to realise that responsibility can be a joy, which is far removed from how it felt as a child, in that it was a heavy burden. It was something I heard when it was felt that I had done something wrong and the word came loaded with fear and overwhelm. It’s just another example of how we have bastardised our language with hidden meanings that no longer reflect their original intention and value.

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