Pondering Personal Responsibility.

Adulting is hard work.

One of the areas I struggle with,  is working out where my rights start to impose upon the rights of others, and what action do I take when they do?

How do I go about that in such a way that I do not become a slave to other people’s thoughts and feelings while remaining aware and mindful of them?

It’s sometimes easier when looking at my immediate circles. I can see the line a little more clearly, the effects of my choices on my husband, my children, my extended family and friends, because I am in relationships with them.


“Each of us has an undeniable responsibility to ourself and the rest of the world to be our personal best on any given day.”
― Laurie Buchanan, PhD

The line becomes hazier when I start looking out toward the community at large. My neighbours, my street, groups I belong to, any volunteer organisations I serve, acquaintances or communities I belong too.

The home education community being a HUGE one in my life.

Where do my rights end, and my responsibilities start in terms of others around me? How does what I do both directly and indirectly affect the community at large?  And how much am I responsible for it?

I think it is the really tricky part of home education (and life in general). Realising that we are both individuals and are a part of a bigger collective.   What we do as individuals can impact others in all kinds of ways.

Personal responsibility is not only recognising the errors of our ways. Personal responsibility lies in our willingness and ability to correct those errors individually and collectively.

Yehuda Berg

Adding to my difficult in trying to figure this out, is that the lines are different for everyone (or so it would seem). So our own expectations will often shape how we expect others to respond, we judge them by our own self expectation, rather than by their liberty.

How then as a society, let alone a community do we tackle this?

” Human rights’ are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in.

A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I am not writing this post because I have the answers, but rather because I have questions.

How do we be mindful of others, without crumbling under the pressure of people pleasing?

How do we live with conscious self-limitation as Solzhenitsyn suggests above, while others seemingly do as they please and bugger the consequence?

I do know above anything else, that I can only control my own actions. I can not control those of others and I  can not make people take responsibility for behaviour they either do not recognise, own or care about the effects of.  The only way to do this is  by force, coercion, manipulation or shaming, one can ask, but one can’t make.

And then there is this quote by Covey. Our freedom often comes with unexpected consequences, we may choose one path, and end up at a completely different destination than the one we intended.

“We are free to choose our paths, but we can’t choose the consequences that come with them.”
― Sean Covey

Our intentions may be one thing, the consequences quite another.

As I sign off from today’s musings, I will leave one more quote. These quotes have been my meditation points this afternoon. Thinking through how I want to live, and the type of person I want to be as I tread up the earth.

I am far from there. Not even close.

But if every journey starts with a step. I am on my way.

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Please do feel free to share your thoughts.

Remembering that this first, has to start with me/you/us.



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