The Three Levels of Personal Responsibility

I’ve been meaning to write about responsibility for a while now, and yesterday something happened that gave me the final push.

A man I had met five minutes earlier verbally assaulted me out of the blue for being German (half German; half British but he evidently wasn’t interested in that half). He claimed that I must have done something terrible in the past to have been born German, brought up the World Wars, and just stopped short of calling me a Nazi. The whole thing was totally ludicrous and I should really have just laughed it off (the guy wasn’t even alive during the Nazi era and clearly just has some far-out issues), but due to tiredness it got to me and twenty minutes later I found myself quite upset. Then I got angry. I thought about confronting him and letting him know how unacceptable it was for him to say those things, how much he had hurt me, how racial hate put him in the same box as those Nazis.

I didn’t do that. Why? Because I am responsible for my energy. As it affects me, and as it affects others. Confronting him would most likely not have changed his views, and would have kept me in that negative energy [for some basics on the human energy field read this].

There are three levels of personal responsibility; behavioural, vocal and energetic (includes mental and emotional energy). The first two are fairly obvious to most people, however the third tends to be overlooked – due mostly to the fact that many people simply have no concept of their energetic impact – and yet I would argue that it is the most important. It is on this level that we really damage ourselves and each other, because aside from people who are very conscious, energetic interactions usually remain at the subconscious level, meaning that we are not aware of the impact something or someone has had on us. No awareness means no intervention, leading to potential scarring and over time, energetic blockages.

Let’s define this whole ‘energetic responsibility’ thing a bit more precisely. As I mentioned above, we can divide it into mental and emotional energy (but of course the two usually operate in parallel). Mental energy includes thoughts, intentions, assumptions and beliefs, while emotional energy includes the whole emotional spectrum. Consider the impact of someone on the metro who is smiling (in a happy, relaxed way, not a crazy and potentially dangerous way) – the other people in the carriage will tend to also be more relaxed. In contrast if there’s someone angry or aggressive, everyone else tenses up. There is no behavioural or vocal exchange; we would normally speak about the ‘atmosphere’ of the area being affected by someone’s mood. What we are referring to is energetic impact of that person. What this implies is that our emotional states directly (if you stare at someone with anger) and indirectly (simply by your presence) affect the people in your environment.

Think about what it’s like (ladies, this sadly applies mostly to us in general) to drive a car with a nervous passenger in the seat beside you. Often your driving is not as good as it normally is. If this persists (and I speak from experience) you might start thinking that you’re not actually  as good a driver as you used to think you were. You might even do something silly or have an accident because you’ve kind of lost your driving mojo. What happened? Nothing changed – except the energy in the car.

We all know what it’s like to have our good mood dragged down by someone in a bad mood; but sometimes we forget the flip side – that it can also be easy to make someone’s day brighter by injecting a little kindness, a smile, a gesture. Energetic responsibility is about being aware of your mental and emotional impact on others; the good and the bad. Remembering that frowning at people in the metro will transfer some of that negative energy to them, but also that giving the girl at the check-out counter a big smile will transfer some of that positive energy to her (and make you feel happier too; bonus!).

It’s about spreading your awareness to beyond yourself, your actions and your words, to encompass your entire presence. To be authentically personally responsible then, one must incorporate this extra level; and while it may seem like an arduous task, increased awareness is always personally beneficial, so really, it’s win-win.

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3 thoughts on “The Three Levels of Personal Responsibility

  1. I thought I remember reading somewhere on your blog (pardon my interest) you were Buddhist? This sounds like the chi of Taoism to me! I agree though, and am always on the verge of saying “smiles save lives.” They really do, and in the least, they often make futures.

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    1. I don’t consider myself Buddhist, but I am a practitioner of Buddhism (fine line I know ;)). The chi is our life force, so yes our personal energy which we are responsible for. Smiles DO save lives, love that! Keep spreading it :)

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