9 signs you take responsibility for whatever comes your way in life

We all walk a unique path in life, but sometimes that journey is marked by a resilience and accountability that is truly remarkable.

You might look back on your life and see a pattern of stepping up when times get tough, or feel proud of how you’ve managed to navigate the unpredictable twists and turns life throws at you.

So how do you know if you’re someone who consistently takes responsibility for whatever comes your way in life, or just a regular person who occasionally goes the extra mile to make the world a better place?

After reflecting deeply on my own experiences and those of the people I admire, I’ve compiled a list of 9 signs that could help you determine if you’re truly someone who embraces accountability. If these resonate, it might be time to acknowledge your strength and resilience.

Let’s dive right in.

1) You don’t blame others for your circumstances

Life can be unpredictable and sometimes, downright unfair. We’ve all been dealt a bad hand at some point or another.

But if you’re someone who takes responsibility for whatever comes your way, you don’t waste time playing the blame game.

Instead, you acknowledge the situation for what it is, understand that blaming others won’t change the circumstances, and focus on finding a solution.

This doesn’t mean you ignore the role others may have played in creating the problem, but you understand that your energy is better spent on problem-solving rather than finger-pointing.

If you can take ownership of your circumstances, no matter how challenging, it shows you’re a person who takes responsibility for their life.

2) You make amends when you mess up

Nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes. But the true test of a responsible person is not in avoiding errors, but in how they react when they do inevitably mess up.

If you’re someone who takes responsibility, you don’t shy away from admitting your mistakes. You apologize sincerely and do your best to make amends, understanding that this is an important part of growth and learning.

Instead of trying to cover up or deflect, you face the consequences of your actions head-on. You understand that mistakes are not a reflection of your worth, but rather opportunities for growth and improvement.

This sense of accountability is a clear indicator that you are someone who takes responsibility for their life’s journey.

3) You don’t shy away from difficult decisions

Life is full of challenging decisions and sometimes, there’s no easy answer. But if you’re someone who takes responsibility for your life, you understand that avoiding difficult decisions only leads to stagnation and regret.

Take my own experience as an example. A few years ago, I was faced with a career decision that would significantly change my life. The easy route would have been to stay in my comfortable, yet unfulfilling job.

But I realized that if I wanted to live a life aligned with my true passions and goals, I would need to make the difficult decision to leave.

It was scary and there were many unknowns, but I took responsibility for my happiness and made the leap. This ability to face difficult decisions head-on, even when it’s uncomfortable, is another sign of a person who takes responsibility for their life.

4) You prioritize self-improvement

If you’re someone who takes responsibility for your life, you understand the importance of continuous self-improvement. You know that growth doesn’t happen overnight and requires consistent effort and dedication.

This means you tend to have a high level of self-awareness and are more likely to achieve your goals. You understand that you’re a work in progress and see each day as a new opportunity for growth and learning.

This commitment to personal growth, understanding that change starts with oneself, is yet another sign of a person who takes responsibility for their life.

5) You are not under the “bystander effect”

Life is full of unexpected challenges and curveballs. But if you’re someone who takes responsibility, you are not afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and rising to the occasion to help those in need. In other words, you’re not under the “bystander effect.” 

The bystander effect is a concept in social psychology that explains how individuals are less inclined to help someone in need when others are present. The case of Kitty Genovese’s murder is a prime example of this phenomenon.

In 1964, Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old woman, was sexually assaulted and stabbed in New York. Despite more than 30 people being aware of the attack, no one intervened or sought help for her. This incident sparked worldwide criticism of the onlookers for their indifference and led to the development of psychological experiments looking into the bystander effect. 

So, what’s the opposite of the bystander effect? Responsible behavior.

Only when you refuse to be a bystander to injustice and opt to face adversity head-on can you truly become a responsible person for yourself and those around you.

6) You set and respect boundaries

Taking responsibility for your life also means understanding the importance of setting and respecting boundaries. You understand that saying ‘yes’ to everything is not a hallmark of responsibility, but can lead to burnout and resentment.

You are not afraid to say ‘no’ when something doesn’t align with your values, time constraints or energy levels. You respect other people’s boundaries as well, understanding that everyone has their own limits and responsibilities. 

In fact, establishing distinct work and professional boundaries can enhance your efficiency, benefiting both yourself and those around you.

For example, a study released in 2018 in the Academy of Management Journal revealed that employees expected to check emails around the clock reported lower levels of health and well-being, along with reduced satisfaction in their relationships with their spouses.

Struggling with your health and overall satisfaction makes it challenging to fulfill responsibilities both to your loved ones and your employer.

The bottom line is: the ability to set and respect boundaries not only helps maintain healthy relationships but also contributes to your own wellbeing and improves your accountability.

7) You actively seek feedback

If you’re someone who takes responsibility for your life, you understand the value of feedback. You’re not afraid of criticism and view it as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal attack.

You actively seek input from others, understanding that there’s always room for improvement. You are open to change and believe in the power of constructive criticism to help you become better.

This openness to feedback and willingness to learn from others is another sign of a person who takes responsibility for their life.

8) You don’t let failures define you

Life is full of ups and downs. But if you’re someone who takes responsibility, you don’t let failures define you. Instead, you view them as learning experiences.

When faced with failure, instead of wallowing in self-pity or blaming others, you reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve in the future. You understand that failure is not the end but a stepping stone towards success.

This resilience in the face of failure marks another sign of a person who truly takes responsibility for their life.

9) You take care of your physical and mental health

Taking responsibility for your life also means taking care of your physical and mental health. You understand that your wellbeing is fundamental to your ability to take responsibility and face life’s challenges.

You prioritize self-care, healthy eating, regular exercise, and mental health practices like meditation or therapy. You understand that your health is a cornerstone of your ability to be responsible and productive.

This commitment to physical and mental health is the final sign of a person who truly takes responsibility for their life.

Feeling Adrift? Pinpointing Your Values Guides You Home

Do you sometimes question what really matters most in life? Feel unclear on the principles that should steer your decisions and path ahead?

It’s so easy to lose sight of our core values. Those essential truths that align our outer world with profound inner purpose.

That’s why life coach Jeanette Brown designed this simple yet illuminating values exercise. To help you define the 5 values most central to who you are.

In just a few minutes, this free download leads you to:

  • Discover what matters to you more than money or status
  • Clarify the ideals your choices should reflect
  • Create a guiding light to inform major life decisions

With your values crystallized, you’ll move through the world with intention, confidence, and meaning.

Stop drifting and download the Free PDF to anchor yourself to purpose. Let your values direct you home.


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