The first time I took personal responsibility (as a teen) set the stage for how I approached it the rest of my life. When I was around 16 and hadn’t taken driver’s ed classes yet, my boyfriend wanted to teach me to drive in his brand-new Jeep that only had 50 miles on it. I was reluctant to do this, but then said “okay.” I stressed over the brake and the clutch and I was unable to “unwind” the wheel, so I mistakenly stepped on the gas and ran the Jeep into a pine tree. Steam came from everywhere, and fluids from the car were running onto the ground. We pushed the Jeep from the scene of the crash to the street next to my house, just outside my bedroom window.
My parents paid the insurance deductible to my boyfriend and I then paid them back. I felt awful about the whole thing. But I finally stopped feeling like that when I told everyone (my boyfriend, my parents, and anyone else who asked) that the accident was MY fault. I had not said “no,” I bowed to peer pressure to drive, and I had caused the accident. Once I said that out loud, I felt free, knowing that I was no longer making excuses, but instead accepting responsibility for my actions. The good and bad feelings from that incident have stayed with me, so now, when I’ve made a mistake, I ask myself “what do I need to change?” What was MY fault in what happened? And then I act accordingly. A clean conscience makes life so much easier to live.
I Accepted Responsibility for My Actions
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Order Dr. Laura's book: "How Could You Do That?!: The Abdication of Character, Courage and Conscience" - illustrates Dr. Laura Schlessinger's philosophy of personal responsibility through her usually provocative but always stimulating moral dialogues with callers about everyday ethical dilemmas.
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