100% Responsibility

I commit to mindfully practice taking full responsibility for the current circumstances of my life, and my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. I commit to support others who are interested in taking full responsibility for their lives.

I commit to the practice a defense system of blaming others and myself for what is wrong in the world. I commit to be a victim, villain, or a rescuer and take more or less than 100% responsibility.

Think this is unfair? We likely agree with you.
The world is unfair ∞ My boss hates me ∞ She did that on purpose! ∞ My parents really screwed me up ∞ I could be happy with more money ∞ If I had a little more time I could deal with this ∞ This situation sucks ∞ He’s out to make my life miserable ∞ No one understands me ∞ Why won’t everyone just leave me alone?! ∞ I’m such a victim, everyone always has it out for me ∞ I’m so unlucky ∞ My life sucks ∞ FML ∞He makes me angry

Welcome to your world of pain, anguish, hurt, sadness, loss, violence, and general poopiness.
Sometimes, pain and suffering seem very present. And whether you’re the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, a French Philosopher, or a anyone else besides a Green Being, you’re going to perceive something that doesn’t sit well with you. 100% Responsibility as a concept offers us a way of processing and experiencing that pain. When practiced, it increases our eventual ability to live and thrive under any circumstance. To demonstrate this concept, there’s a scale below.

IMPORTANTLY, the scale is not assessing the OBJECTIVE viewpoint of the situation. We’re not looking for what ‘really happened’ here nor assigning a percentage of our responsibility and others responsibility in the grand scheme of things (this isn’t an insurance case!). What we are looking at below is where we are placing our energy and attention. This awareness allows us to see the commitment we have to our current point of view. As well as the payoff the views allows us to have. The percentage means what part of our attention is focused on ourselves, our own needs, our own feelings and our own thoughts. In the ‘0%’ category, we’re focusing completely on things perceived as external to ourselves, and not sparing a moment’s thought for us. In the 75% category, we’re focusing ¾ of our attention on ourselves: what’s coming up for us, what we’re needing, what we’re wanting, and then using 25% of our attention to think about what happened/the other.

The folks at Conscious Leadership (who created the hit book The 15 Commitments) have this take on 100% Responsibility:

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0%
Innocent Victim
She hurt me; I was dumped; I got screwed-over; I’m unlucky; he is a jerk; They’re mean; The world is unfair; I hate them; They’re evil; This is just the way I am; I’ve done nothing to deserve this!
25%
Reluctant Victim
i know I was mean, but she overreacted; I’m not as bad as they’re making me out to be; They’re totally misrepresenting what I said; I’m not the easiest person to get along with, but he could try a little harder; I could’ve tried a little harder, but he didn’t try at all!
50%
Neutral Party
There were mistakes all the way around; We both chose poor paths here; We’re all human; She’s unhappy and I’m struggling; We’re both creatures of our environment and upbringing.
75%
Deeply Reflective
I’m not strong enough to choose joy when someone hurts me; I struggle to find my voice when others are shouting; forgiveness is a ways away – I’m not ready to forgive her choice to hurt me.
100%
Purely Self-Focused
I choose my path here; The event is what I make of it; I have the power to rewrite the story; i notice sadness, and I do not contribute that feeling to being cause by something outside of myself; I choose to focus on locating and shifting myself into a state of power, agency and energy in this, and future scenarios; I am grateful for this opportunity to practice self-compassion; I will use the tools

So, we may be tempted to interpret the word ‘responsibility’ as guilt or blame; as in ‘Who’s to blame for this?! … who’s guilty of this crime?!” In this scenario, we’re still externally focused: we’re looking for justice, retribution, punishment ~ all power-over scenarios, and that power is always ‘over our heads’ meaning external to us. We’re still the victim of circumstances, and we’re likely lacking a sense of wholeness and in turn are reaching for power(-over).

In 100% Responsibility, we start to think of responsibility as ‘self-mastery’ or the knowledge that our experience of the world is subject to our beliefs. A simple way to engage with this idea is to think of the story of ‘The Vinegar Tasters’. In this story, Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tsu all taste from the same jar of Vinegar (representing life). Confucius has a disparaging face because he believes that vinegar tastes sour: that life is discordant and in need of rules to bring about harmony. Buddha believes that the vinegar tastes bitter; he experiences life as filled with attachments and fraught with pain as we search for Nirvana [non-being / blown-out]. Lao Tsu believes that the vinegar tastes pleasant; he believes that the bitterness of the vinegar comes from his tasting of it, and relishes a sweetness to the experience of life. We could spend eons (and have spent centuries!) concerning ourselves with who has the right understanding of the Jar of Vinegar: Confucius? Buddha? Lao Tsu? None of Them? But that would be focusing on the jar of vinegar and its quality: something external to ourselves. The story, and 100% responsibility, instead asks us to focus on the experience of the taster, and how that experience shifts solely because of their beliefs. Confucius believes that the world is discordant; so he tastes discord and sourness. Buddha believes that existence is suffering; so he tastes suffering and bitterness. Lao Tsu believes the world is harmonious; so he tastes harmony and sweetness.

Instead of blaming the Jar for containing vinegar; or wishing that the Jar was different; or cursing our fate for encountering this jar, we start to focus on our awareness on our present location and bring about a change in our experience through a change in our perspective. We have the power to be any one of the Vinegar Tasters, or to choose a different and new way to experience the vinegar. There is no set way of meeting the world, and there is no externally determined path for understanding life.
On the next page, we’ll think through some scenarios that tend to put a strain on 100% responsibility in people’s minds; especially when first encountering the subject. Then, the following pages will offer a comprehensive understanding of the subject, as well as FAQ’s on 100% Responsibility, tools and meditations, and other resources.

In any situation, your responsibility is to yourself; By looking to yourself, you can support and nurture others.