Friday, December 14, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Personal responsibility; it's one of my favorite topics.

Sadly, it's a concept that moves further and further away as the years go by. It seems as though almost everyone is looking for someone to blame for the condition their life is in. The government, the church, the rich, their ex husband, their boss....and the list goes on and on. Someway somehow, everyone but them are responsible for their foreclosed house, repossessed car, failed marriage, drug problem, lack of education, etc. This "blame the other person" mentality is not only self-destructing, but it's also crippling society. We've become a people with a bunch of fingers to point, a bunch of problems and yet no solutions.

So when does personal responsibility come into play? When (if not always) are we truly the author of our actions and completely responsible for the outcome?

The recent Royal Prank tragedy has been a topic of recent in an online conversation forum that I participate in. The question was posed, are the DJ's responsible for this woman's death and is what they did so wrong? My answer on both accounts is NO! They are not responsible for her death. Neither is what they did "wrong." The call was strictly a silly prank intended to be nothing but that, silly.  Despite that though, the outcry against the radio station and the DJ's has been insane and has even included death threats. Both of the DJ's have profusely apologized for any part they might have played in this event and the radio station has paid out $525,000 to the woman's family. Which, personally, I see as a very kind gesture, seeing as how this was something totally beyond their control.

My viewpoint on personal responsibility (even when it comes to suicide) is this:

You, and you alone are responsible for your actions. While others can play a part in how you feel, when you allow them to play a part in how you ACT, that is on you. I know bullying is a big topic right now and while I feel it is totally wrong and needs to be dealt with, (with the PARENTS of the bullies, first of all) even if bullying results in a suicide, I still believe it is on the shoulders of the person who took their own life into their hands. People might argue that the bullies "pushed them to that point." But the truth is, people can only push you as much as you let them. Throughout life we ALL have mental and emotional breakdowns. We all have things that bother us, people that ridicule us and are incredibly harsh towards us. But how we react to those things is up to us.

In the case of this horrific tragedy that occurred with the nurse, perhaps it's possible she was dealing with other things as well. And that combined with the humiliation of being duped by the prank call, made her do something the otherwise would not have done. But at the end of the day, she had a choice. She could have laughed it off, she could have quit her job and found another, she could (possibly) have sued. There were many other options to choose from yet she CHOSE suicide. And for that, I cannot rightfully fault the DJ's or the radio station.

It's not an easy lesson nor is it a fun one. And I too, have been guilty of blaming others for a reaction that I chose to have. But in the end, learning to take responsibility for our actions by taking control of ourselves is one of the best things we can do; for ourselves and for society.

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