True Responsibility

I spent most of my childhood and much of my life feeling overwhelmed and burdened by what I thought was true ‘responsibility’. In the culture and family environment I was born into, responsibility was all about family first and taking care of everyone else’s needs before my own. This constant focus on others’ needs first is what I believed true responsibility to be.

Growing up, strong expectations were placed upon me both as a girl and as the eldest child in a family of five sisters. My father and mother worked all day on the family farm and would set tasks for me each day, including looking after my younger siblings.

At the age of four, I found myself a prime carer for two younger sisters, changing nappies and feeding them, and being fully responsible for their care until my parents came back from work. As I got older I had to ensure that the housework was done, and the family’s meals were prepared – all on top of my day at school!

If something had not been done ‘the right way’ or even when others misbehaved, I was made to take full responsibility and as the oldest was made the example – being punished regardless of what the situation was and who was truly at fault.

In this environment I became overwhelmed with a sense of always being responsible for everyone else and with no self worth. I lived in constant anxiety and fear of what could go wrong next. Physically, my body ached and I could not sleep at night. I felt trapped, and in the hardest times, I would go to a place where I felt safe and just cry.

As a result of feeling like nothing I did seemed to be good enough, I became someone obsessed with doing everything ‘right’, a perfectionist in my work, the way I lived and everything I did.

I found myself in a constant state of stress, setting ever-higher standards for myself in completing every job, something I took well into my adult years. When I had a family of my own, all of these patterns and behaviours just intensified. I was an extremely nervous person, always needing to control what went on with everyone in the family, and also in my workplace.

I suffered from depression, and reached a point where I did consider suicide. I was chronically exhausted, overwhelmed, often angry, and constantly unwell.

It was not until I came to the work of Universal Medicine at age 54, and began attending workshops presented by Serge Benhayon, that I began to get a sense of what responsibility truly is. Finally here was a man who made so much sense!

Through Serge’s teachings and the Universal Medicine workshops I have attended, I have come to truly understand that true responsibility starts with myself first and foremost.

As the realisations dawned, that I had chosen to be responsible for everyone and everything around me first, I felt I had made a mess of not only my life, but that of all of my family members. Always helping everyone and fixing things had made me feel good about myself, and needed. It was a way of avoiding the deep hurt I still felt from my childhood.

It was a powerful and deeply humbling moment when I realised that in taking on responsibility for others, I did not allow them to be who they truly are; to live and learn from making their own choices in life.

And so from applying what I learnt from attending Universal Medicine courses, I made a choice to be responsible for myself first. This point marked a ‘turn-around’ in my life. Holding my behaviours in such loving understanding allowed things to change. I am still learning, but I now have tools to work with every day.

Being aware of how I am living with myself and how my body feels is the key to no longer harming self or others through the controlling behaviours I’d lived by.

I find I am so much kinder to myself and that the need for perfectionism is, amazingly, loosening its hold. I notice this in the way I work and deal with even the smallest of things every day.

Knowing the truth of responsibility is the greatest gift I could ever be given. And, it is a gift I give to myself. I do not blame my parents for all that happened, as they did not know any better. What reflection did they have of what true responsibility really is? I feel they did the best they could.

Responsibility is beautiful.

I truly love being me, knowing in my heart that I am committed to making loving choices from which I can learn and grow. To have let go of the hurt has opened up so much joy in my life. At age 60, I have never felt better. I live life feeling pretty amazing every day, and rejoice in knowing and living true responsibility as a beautiful blessing.

Thank you Serge Benhayon, for reflecting how beauty-full it is to be truly responsible.

By Kathy Avram, Melbourne, Australia

Further reading:
The Importance of Self Responsibility
True Change: Self-responsibility Inspired by Universal Medicine

1,353 thoughts on “True Responsibility

  1. It is only when we are willing to take true responsibility that we can start to see and feel change. What you share is so important ‘true responsibility starts with myself first and foremost.’

  2. “Always helping everyone and fixing things had made me feel good about myself, and needed. It was a way of avoiding the deep hurt I still felt from my childhood”.
    How true is this for so many of us?
    This is our way to avoid being responsible for ourselves first and foremost . Why can we not go there first and foremost? We need to address this self loathing energy within first. We are taught to judge and flog ourselves for everything. We forget from whence we came as divine souls.Instead we are taught that we are all sinners, if you went to church and aligned to such guff, and we are mislead into believing we are not worthy of love. So we desperately seek it from others to get that recognition and approval. To feel worthy of love.

    1. Irena thank you for your sharing. I loved what you shared about if we went to church we were told we were sinners and so we would look outside of us for love. I now realise that religion played a big part of my life of how I was set up from young to believe that I was not worthy of anything because of us being a sinner and that God judges us in every way, if we are not good. From that foundation you feel you need to be responsible for everyone and everything in life and live in a certain way that is not allowing anyone to take responsible for self or others for their choices so that we live in separation from who we truly are.

  3. What you have shared here Kathy is prevalent in many cultures as the way to be the best mother, brother, sister, grandparent etc. The focus is on giving all and leaving a depleted person behind. It has become an accepted norm that is often fuelled generation after generation when we choose not to feel what is truly going on or like yourself coming to the realisation that this is not healing but harming in the long run. This blog is a great reminder of how true responsibility starts with oneself and what we offer another is in equalness – nothing more or less!

  4. The way the word responsibility is often used, makes it feel like it is a burden, an obligation, something serious and heavy. But this is not the case. Responsibility is about living who we are – that is our only true responsibility.

  5. Thank you Kathy for this gorgeous blog – as ever it was so timely for me to read your words. I hear in no mistakable way how us cherishing what we need, honouring our body, and how we feel is always super supportive for everybody. Such an irony when you strip away all the ‘must-do’s’ and ideas that we have about how we should lead our life!

    1. Joseph, thank you for your comment, it is beautiful when we honour our body, feel and align to the truth, we come from a place of being responsible in consciousness for the choices we make, bringing the true quality of all that we are, without the need to go into “the must do’s” from our ideals and beliefs.

  6. I find it interesting how you felt a sense of “needing to be responsible” for most of your life until meeting more of your truth once again after meeting Serge Benhayon. Then you felt how much this responsibility was not true for you at all and was not the way you wanted your life to be. What an amazing insight this is as this shows the influence ideals have on us on even subtle levels and how much we do base our lives on feeling – but feeling what? The lie or the truth?

  7. Kathy, knowing you personally means I can completely attest to all that you’ve shared here. When I see you, I can feel how full of joy you are and how committed you are to living your true self. It’s very beautiful.

  8. It’s a shame responsibility is painted as a burden to us when we are younger, when taking responsibility for who we are and all our choices is in fact one of the most joyful and empowering choices we can make for ourselves – it’s amazing to know that you are an equal and contributing part to the whole of the world.

  9. The false version of responsibility that the majority of us grow up with is such a strong consciousness. I find it can still sneak in and make me believe that I need to be doing or fixing something. What I know from my body is that is not true as it creates tension and angst. My responsibility is to have a body that is open, light and at ease, ready for the soul to work through.

  10. “I truly love being me”. I found these words stood out, as I don’t think I have pondered on how I feel about being me before or fully appreciated who I am. There is a reason why we are all the way we are, we all have divine qualities to share, so it is a wonderful thing to feel those qualities and love what it means to be me.

  11. I am currently at a Universal Medicine retreat and in this mornings presentation learnt that responsibility is actually love; and this makes sense from what you have shared ‘I made a choice to be responsible for myself first. This point marked a ‘turn-around’ in my life. Holding my behaviours in such loving understanding allowed things to change. I am still learning, but I now have tools to work with every day.’ In that loving yourself more you started to be more responsible for what you were living and letting go of behaviours that were not love.

  12. The rates of self-harm are escalating into an epidemic of depression. Thank you for writing a powerful blog on how this starts from a very young age and can lead to incredibly low periods in people’s lives. These behaviours are crippling people of all ages and it is the support that you received that is showing the world there is another way. How often do we as a society judge, comment and give our opinions on why people are living or reacting a certain way when there is a whole level of love and understanding that needs to be presented first to allow another to feel the levels of hurt that have the potential to be healed?

  13. It’s so true Cathy – responsibility is love, and it is beautiful. It comes hand in hand with the glory that we are, asking us constantly to be who we are, more of who we are and reflect that to the world. Why did we ever make it a burdensome word with the connotations of loaded up shoulders?? Because we then mistakenly learn to shun responsibility and in doing so, we shun ourselves.

    1. Exactly Katerina, when we understand responsibility to be a burden we tend to shy away from that but as you say with that we also shy away from life and avoid to take that only responsibility in life that is to being all of us wherever we go, which actually is no burden at all.

  14. We grow up in an environment that places so much pressure on us to achieve certain things. Whether it be perfectionism, a better person, a fixer, a carer etc etc. There is nothing out there besides Universal Medicine saying to people you are you well before you do or become anything. You are already perfect in your divinity and perfection isn’t something to try and achieve. Nothing is saying just breath and truly connect and everything you need will be at your fingertips because you have you. We are constantly trying to achieve, obtain, be better while all the time everything is already inside, and we only need to deeply, and consistently connect to it. Universal Medicine turns peoples lives around because we are all walking the wrong way, the world is upside down. We are the masters of knowing what to do, it’s just we have created a world through our actions and movements that tells you otherwise. Just because you think something doesn’t make it real, everything is energy first and so the wisest thing to do is to see where the energy you are using is coming from.

  15. Thank you Kathy for a most honest and touching blog. I love the depth of understanding that you have come to about what “true responsibility” is; an understanding that would benefit most of humanity. To understand the truth of responsibility has allowed me to drop any need to blame anyone else for what has gone on in my life and that how my life has unfolded is simply a result of all the choices I have ever made

  16. An amazing blog Kathy! It is incredible that you have come out of the years (from 4 onward) of full on feeling responsible for everyone else. To know that the only one you are truly responsible for is yourself is indeed a truth that Serge Behayon has shared with us and is in the Livingness of.

  17. To not blame the world for our woes but see that we alone are the creators of our life reveals to us that we have the power to change. This alone brings us a huge step forward to the responsibility we have.

  18. In fact we can only be responsible for ourselves and that is also how responsibility works. It is impossible to be responsible for someone else’s life as we have no control over their will and the choices they make. If we think we can, then we are drained as we give energy to something that is not us. The only responsibility we have is to shine our light to the best of our ability, and through that light we can show to the world what responsibility really is.

  19. In the early part of this blog, when you talk about your childhood, and as a parent myself, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for your parents, the kind of upbringing they had and how they must have felt being away from their children all day, the fears they must have had and the deep sorrow. I get the sense that there was a lot of fear, of wanting everyone to be safe, and how they knew that in you there was someone they could rely on, someone strong and dependable – just like them.

    1. Shami, I loved what you shared here, thank you, for you have brought another light on the what was also truly happening, my parents to trust me with responsibility at that time of being 4 years of age and how it must have been hard for them and also the fear they must have felt.
      I have come to a loving understanding that this was part of my path of life to learn and unfold in knowing true responsibility, that it was a burden of how it was set up and through Serge Benhayon bringing the true meaning, actually brought a loving gift from my soul to bring through the gift of love not only to self and to others to live and reflect in life bringing the true meaning of responsibility

  20. We often see true responsibility as a burden, and think life is easier when we don’t take full responsibility allowing ourselves on occasions to take part responsibility when in truth we are either responsible or not. The more I live by true responsibility the easier life actually is, because you know what is truth and what is not truth, which leaves nothing unknown.

  21. Gosh Kathy that is so full on looking after your siblings from such a young age. You have transformed your life thanks to your commitment to saying no to doing for every-one else and coming back to taking care of you first. Well done as I know many of us struggle with this transition to putting our self first.

  22. Thank you for your touching story and unfolding understanding about responsibility. Serge Benhayon is very precise in the use of words and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to learn about the true meaning of so many words, not just through verbal explanation but also providing personal example through the way he lives. I have found that embracing the truth of such potent words as love and responsibility turns your whole life round.

    1. Yes Golnaz, that is so true, Serge Benhayon is precise in the words he uses and he has unravelled responsibility from being a burden to being a joy and full of self-empowerment. The illustration of how it can turn lives around as shared in this post is worth paying attention to.

  23. That is probably one the most evil beliefs around, that we are a good person if we take care of others all the time or ar least a big part of the time. The truth is by living that way we are wearing ourselves out and don’t give the other the permission to see the real us.

  24. Love what you have shared here, that with true responsibility there can be true joy. We always think that taking on more responsibility means that it is a drag, something that you are burdened with, not that it can be hugely joyful and expanding.

    1. Great point Raegan, responsibility is so often perceive as a burden, a moment in which we can pull in self doubt and create issues that in the most part do not exist.

  25. “Knowing the truth of responsibility is the greatest gift I could ever be given.” I can see why you say this Kathy – we can be imprisoned by beliefs or ideals and knowing, or being reminded about, the truth of a word in life is truly freeing.

  26. Great to read that no matter what age we are, we can make choices which can support us to change our lives, and at the end of the day true responsibility starts with us first.

  27. I’m so blown away that at age four you had taken on such tasks. The world is full of words that have been twisted and used against us. This is a great example of how responsibility was used to become it’s opposite. Taking you away from true love which is held in true responsibility.

  28. “This constant focus on others’ needs first is what I believed true responsibility to be.” – and as you’ve discovered Kathy, it isn’t. Supporting, caring and loving others can only come if we are taking care of ourselves first.

  29. It’s interesting how skewed responsibility can become – our interpretations of it, some of which are detailed here. Understanding exactly what responsibility entails and where and how it begins has been part of my learnings with Serge Benhayon too. As with so many topics, he reimprints and restores true meaning and understanding, enabling us – if we so choose – to live a life that is true.

  30. Perfectionism – what a killer of joy and simplicity in life. It’s a terrible kind of compensation for what is fundamentally a lack of self-worth. If deep down I believe I’m not enough, well everything I do damn well ought to be perfect in order to get the recognition that I am!

  31. ‘True responsibility starts with myself first and foremost.’ Yes. I too have been used to taking care of others, having four younger brothers. I then went into caring professions, ostensibly looking after others, but not caring for myself at all. I was always ‘trying’, trying to be good enough to pass my own standards – and of course failing. Learning about energetic responsibility and loving myself first was an eye-opener for me when I first came to the Ageless Wisdom presentations. What? It wasn’t selfish to put me first? Not only that, it became clear to me it was essential. How can someone truly care for and love another if they don’t apply these same standards to themselves? No wonder there is so much burn-out.

  32. Awesome Kathy. To work through the resentment of your parents and anyone whose expectations you felt you had to live up to is pretty remarkable. Bringing that understanding to where people are at is a huge part of responsibility, because from there we realise we don’t have to take on other people’s burdens.

  33. It is a trap thinking we are doing ‘good’ taking responsibility for others, when actually we are robbing them of the opportunity to take responsibility for them selves and at the same time avoiding taking responsibility for our self.

  34. I am struck by my 4 year olds and how they were at that age, what I asked them to do and what they took responsibility for and then I feel the weight of responsibility you had on your shoulders – I can quite see that the anxiety of not being in control, of ensuring you were able to do a great job would have been well embedded and would have led to a break point. I am amazed you lasted as long as you did. How wonderful to have been given a moment to reconsider.

  35. Children do well with a sense of purpose and understanding that they belong and can contribute but what you were asked to do as a child would be labelled as child abuse these days. When I observe my 4 year old nieces and nephews I can see that that pressure without the support would have had a huge impact on you energetically and developmentally.

  36. Reading this blog Kathy, your words reverberate all over my body – and remind me that our single true responsibility in this life is to be Love. All of the other stuff is not significant in the way we think it is. We focus on this when we miss the grace, stillness, connection and warmth we naturally are. So I get this morning, that responsibility is not a terrible thing – but a door to feeling our true light.

  37. I love how you have claimed this Kathy, that responsibility is beautiful. Far far from the have laden misinterpretation we have bought into for eons, and in so doing, walking away from our own grandness and love.

  38. “….it is a gift I give to myself.”
    Responsibility is the foundation that allows us to claim our unlimited potential – there is no greater gift.

  39. What you share here about the time when you felt so exhausted you contemplated suicide – “I was chronically exhausted, overwhelmed, often angry, and constantly unwell.” The lack of control and the inability to know how to talk about what you were feeling to get help because you have grown to believe that this was your ‘normal’, there was no other way. I am full of respect for the commitement you placed on supporting yourself and finding another way. The responisbility you took to turn your own life around. Respect.

  40. A touching account of one path into true responsibility and showing that no matter what the landscape when you are younger or older you can make a change. Look around your life and see if you can see this story playing out on any level, growing up or in your family now, maybe in your friends family. We are repeating patterns of behaviour that then support us to repeat patterns of behaviour if that makes sense. In other words we are walking around in circles thinking we are going somewhere when in fact it’s always and forever a circle. In place of arguing that we should look at articles like this, living results of people of all ages and walks of life taking on true responsibility and making a difference. We all need to embrace the awareness more and more of what the truth of responsibility is.

  41. A life transformed. From experiencing responsibility as a burden to appreciating responsibility as something beautiful. Our first responsibility is to self and with this foundation all else falls into place. We’re able to give an extra-ordinary amount to others once we’ve put our own house in order

  42. Yes Kathy, responsibility is beautiful, thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom. What you have expressed here is very powerful lesson for us all;
    “It was a powerful and deeply humbling moment when I realised that in taking on responsibility for others, I did not allow them to be who they truly are; to live and learn from making their own choices in life”.

  43. Truly remarkable and inspiring read for many as you claim your vitality and love of life as a 60 year old woman. Thank you for bucking the norm where often the life of “retirement” and carefree living void of responsibility are the hall marks for many heading in their older years as the ultimate way of living.

  44. True responsibility starts with self and the quality that we hold ourselves in, as it is only this quality that we can then hold for all.

  45. true Kathy – taking responsibility for another’s situation is just a way of draining/ burdening ourselves as it is not ours to take on… and in this we are in fact distracting ourselves away from what we need to actually take responsibility of in ourselves..

    1. This is true – we can easily fill our lives with tending to others lives and decisions rather than turning inward and reflecting on our own life and choices and taking self-responsibility.

  46. I agree Kathy, it is life changing when we realise that we are to take responsibility for our self and that no one else is qualified for the job. Taking responsibility for the way we think, talk and move certainly has a huge impact on not only our health and well being but on everyone’s around us as we are all connected.

  47. Wow Kathy the way you have healed your childhood and any hurts you were carrying is amazing and very inspiring to read, I had a pattern in the past of being overly responsible for others as well which affected my self-esteem and well-being long-term. It is beautiful how meeting Serge Benhayon has shown we can begin to heal these patterns that are harmful and holding us back from who we truly are and to begin to live with true responsibility and to feel the simplicity and joy that this choice brings.

  48. Quite a turn around Kathy. To be able to say that responsibility is beautiful, from where you were coming from, where responsibility was clearly a burden, is something to be appreciated to the max.

  49. Thank you Kathy, responsibility in its true meaning is a beautiful thing, it is not a burdensome but an opportunity at what has occurred and be more understanding and loving in our lives with others- it is the only way forth in our evolution.

  50. Letting go of the ‘hurts’ we carry is to free ourselves from an impost over us that is not true, yet imprisons and controls every aspect of our lives. we don’t need to protect our hurts but rather see that we never truly be hurt by another, only reminded what we have done to ourselves, and so heal, restore and live the fullness we are from.

  51. A deeply inspiring blog – thank you.
    In taking on ‘responsibility’ for others we disempower those people and also ourselves and are making a judgement of others may live their lives rather than allowing free-will and to live us and let others live.

  52. It is truly beginning to humble me as I become ever more aware that the responsibility I first have is whether I stay with and express from the steady humble, forever student of myself that I am, or step away from it into a way of being that I had made my life, one of sadness, loneliness, emotional needs and wants. It can take every ounce of resolve I own, but it is worth it to step off the roller coaster, onto a steady strong platform of my own love.

  53. It is interesting the things we do to make ourselves feel better about ourselves, and taking on other peoples stuff is one of them. On the surface it looks like we are being responsible but it is in fact the opposite because it robs the other of the responsibility and they do not grow. It is also used by us to not deal with our own hurts by getting too involved and busy with other people’s issues.

  54. What an awesome thing Kathy that you can now say “I do not blame my parents for all that happened, as they did not know any better.” It is sad how many people still are carrying blame towards there parents, sometimes this is expressed sometimes not yet always there as an undercurrent eating away until we take responsibility and learn from our choices rather then to continue to blame.

  55. This is such an interesting blog for me to read this morning, I feel that I have recently developed a greater understanding of the importance of reflections through relationships in our lives to show us where the irresponsibility lies. Otherwise, we walk around in our ‘normal’ which may well be indulgent and self-abusive yet we have chosen not to see it as such because, to date, it has worked for us.

  56. Responsibility opens up so many doors, for me it allows me to take charge of my life rather than being in constant blame of everyone else. Ultimately I have always had a choice and seeing this everything makes sense. Blaming others changes nothing and just keeps things spinning around like in a dirty washing machine, without changing the water the clothes stay dirty.

  57. Striving to be perfect takes so much of our precious energy and it feels like it strangulates the naturally amazing being we are, as we are actually trying to achieve an unattainable goal. Not only is the process of aiming for perfection exhausting for our body but when we feel we have not reached the level of perfection we are expecting of ourselves we add another debilitating behaviour as we now have a reason to beat ourselves up. Letting go of the need to be perfect is one of the most self-loving choices we could ever make; that is “true responsibility”.

  58. What you’ve described Kathy is very common…I see it in my own family – people putting others before themselves but it is loaded with expectations and if it isn’t recognised, feeling hurt and angry.

  59. I’m coming to learn how true responsibility is not as scary as we think it is. In the past when I thought of responsibility immediately my body takes on a stance with need for defines and to prove something, but responsibility is starting to feel much simpler and is more akin to being honest about the energy that I am living with, and making that a quality in all areas. A quality lived by one is felt by all.

  60. True responsibility starts with us first taking care of ourselves. How can we know what responsibility is until we feel it for ourselves first. If we don’t we learn to take on responsibility based on the expectations of others as was the situation with your family, and then we see responsibility as a burden and a chore when it is one of the most natural things on the planet.

  61. Living with true responsibility leaves our body feeling light and un-encumbered – a beautiful feeling of completeness.

  62. Responsibility is the key to our evolution and when the more we embrace it the more we get to understand that we are part of something bigger and it is about all us and not just self.

  63. A very inspiring blog and understanding of true responsibility with oneself first and the simplicity and joy from this is very beautiful in our life and a reflection for all to feel.

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