Existential Psychology

Take Responsibility For Your Life

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A lot of mental health professionals are complicit in projection. In trying to inhabit the role of non-judgmental, supportive, empathetic helper they positively reinforce their clients to blame this or that variable for their problems.

As good as it might feel to have someone in a position of authority who supposedly knows a lot about psychology agree with you that responsibility for your state of affairs lies out there in the external world rather than within you, it does nothing to help you. You’re left dependent on chance, fate, whatever you want to call it, to improve your situation.

Most of the time people are at least partially responsible for their problems, but even in the rare cases that they’re not, they are responsible for how they respond. Blaming everything and everyone else might feel good, and in some cases it’s even necessary to assign responsibility to the people or institutions that have flown under the radar, whose malignant effects haven’t been noticed. But blaming will only get you so far because it doesn’t change anything about your concrete reality.

And like we said, most of the time projection is mixed in there. It’s painful to consciously recognize your own shortcomings, the active part you have played in your maladaptive behavior. But until you take responsibility for your life as it is right now, regardless of the variables that have gotten you to this point, you remain a prisoner, a leaf blowing back and forth in the wind. You can only change that which is within your locus of control and that means finding a percentage of responsibility for your state of affairs, however small that percentage might be, and working within it to change things instead of projecting that responsibility onto the world.