The Pitfalls Of Taking Responsibility

The Pitfalls Of Taking Responsibility

As the first born, I was responsible from an early age for my sibling and he needed it. The amount of times I have pulled him back from running into a road, helped break a fall from a swing, or held his hand while he balanced on a wall, and those were just things when we were toddlers. In society today, taking responsibility and take credit for an achievement are two different parallels. People don’t mind being responsible (and getting credited) for positive things, such as being part of a team for winning an award, but when they are associated with scandals such as the Harvey Weinstein cases, no one wishes to accept or take responsibility. It can naturally damage reputations, but denying something that you knew, well is that honest just because you don’t want others to judge you poorly? Is it to save yourself and claim ignorance when really you didn’t want to get involved, turned a blind eye, or convinced yourself it was none of your business?

Not everyone can be a leader, and even people in positions of power can handle responsibility poorly, or pass the buck whenever they can. People care about an unblemished reputation, but with responsibility comes the pros and cons and that means shouldering the blame when things go wrong under your watch. Take for instance, parents are responsible for their children, yet we know many do neglect them, so while they have that duty of care, many don’t know how to use it or actually want it either. Where a company or political party fails, then the leader resigns (because they failed those under them) usually before they get pushed. Some try to cling to power, and use excuses (British Airways Chairman Cruz comes to mind when a computer glitch due to cheaper outsourcing led to delays and cancellations of flights) to account for what transpired. Accepting responsibility and then resolving and dealing with the issue is what a good leader does, rather than make excuses.

There is also a moral responsibility to others, and the question is where do you draw the line? In what circumstances can you say it’s none of your business and not have an uneasy conscience? I battle this out with my friends often, because as humans we do have a moral responsibility to others, but it also bound by an unspoken law of privacy. When is it right to intervene or say something when you suspect something is wrong, or are you interfering? Do you sit idly by and chant, “It’s not my business,” and hope there is no fall out?

Currently I am living this dilemma is several situations. I have a neighbor with multiple sclerosis, and that means her brain cells are dying at a much faster rate and thus she doesn’t have full capacity. She can’t remember names, or some days whether she has eaten. I help as a neighbor, but where do I draw the line as she’s not my responsibility, yet I know if don’t check on her she may not have eaten all day or forgotten to take her medication?

A while back I hadn’t been to see her for a few days and all she had eaten were cereal bars, because she forgot to eat. She only has cousins but they aren’t as close as they used to be, and as she is old, most of her friends have passed away. I know I’m not responsible for her, but I do feel a moral responsibility to make sure she has eaten each day, because I’m sitting a few doors away and a small act can make a difference. On the other hand her friends feel I am interfering, especially when I tell her it’s not wise to go out in the dark in winter for no reason other than it gets her out of the house when she’s had several falls in the house. That’s just common sense, which sadly she no longer is capable of all of the time. Her friends do have a responsibility to ensure she is safe, yet the few she has don’t exercise it and it leads to her getting ill.

We all have some kind of responsibility whether we like it or not. Many shun the thought of it, because it means you must be accountable, and while I’m not fond of hierarchies, the fact is they are necessary to help balance and keep order. I was recently attacked as being arrogant and for acting out of place by someone because I took responsibility and acted. Some may ask why I acted, and there is always a reason but do I need justification to act when a position of authority is being abused? I naturally expected some criticism, but actually it only came from one person who voiced their opinion (no one agreed with them), while there may be others who thought the same but opted to remain silent.

Often in life we hope someone else will take responsibility, or that whatever needs resolving will naturally occur. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case and when you are in a position of responsibility you must make choices and take actions that you know others won’t necessarily like or understand, and that will lead to criticisms and bitter hatred. I have fired staff before, but only after they are given a chance to redeem themselves. Bosses in stores that struggle to make profits have to cut staff numbers and close stores; it’s never popular but these are the decisions those in responsibility must make to ensure a company survives. Politicians have to balance making decisions for the good of the people, while also doing what is best for the country. These don’t always go hand in hand, if you take Brexit in the UK as an example. The choices the government makes are on behalf of the people, and some may not be so popular for sectors of society whom will be affected, but regardless these decisions must be made, and the country (like a company) comes before the people.

Leaders or those in charge will always face popularity issues; if they do and say things the masses like all is good, however, once the don’t, that tide will change. Even though I don’t need to justify my actions, I feel the need to explain myself nonetheless for those with little understanding of the spiritual world. We all have Guides whether we know it or not in life, and while some acknowledge them others don’t have a clue. There are Guides in training, and who are mentored by more experienced Guides. Therefore if a Guide is abusing their powers and harming others in favor of their charge, then those mentoring the Guide should intervene. So what happens if that doesn’t work? Then the Elders will take charge and intervene, and only do so when there is no other option. That is their role to allow Guides to learn and be mentored, but when harms become consistent and are deliberate then Elders have the power and the right to use whatever means to prevent harms. This is what occurred, and it’s as simple as that; I was protecting and defending the innocent from being harmed from an abuse of power.

To try and put it in physical realm terms consider the scenario; a manager is caught fiddling his expenses and is found out, and because of it his whole team suffers and doesn’t get a bonus that month. He is reprimanded by his director not to do this again, however, when the director is on vacation he continues to fiddle his expenses and HR then get involved and give him a written warning and suspends his ability to have an expense account. This doesn’t deter him and is found to have submitted fake receipts, so the chairman of the company takes action and demotes him as neither the director or HR (in the hierarchy chain) have been effective, and not only did his team suffer as a consequence of his actions, the company had lost money through fraudulent expense claims.

Responsibility is never easy, and isn’t something everyone wants. Those in power or a position of power must accept that they won’t always be friends with everyone under their charge, and that they must make unpopular decisions for the greater good. Just because someone challenges or criticizes their actions doesn’t mean they were wrong, but that many people don’t fully understand when someone has to take responsibility and act it is for a reason that may not be obvious, nor is it their business to question why an action was taken if it doesn’t personally affect them.

We all have a moral responsibility to help others in need and that will never change, because saying in hindsight, “I wished I had done something,” is too late. Finding that perfect balance to do the right thing, and not to cross the line of interfering or invading privacy is a constant lesson that will never end, or knowing when things have gone too far and action is necessary.

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