Is “Personal Responsibility” a Four-Letter Word?

My, my, my.  My comments last week on why many men stray from their marriage vows generated more email to me than any one thing I’ve said in years.  85% of the letters I received were wonderfully appreciative and supportive of what I said.  Men and women alike “got” what I was saying and acknowledged the need for husbands and wives to share the responsibility for the health of their marriages. 

One wrote “After seeing you on The Today Show, I asked myself, ‘Am I the kind of wife my husband wants to come home to?’  I look at each day as an opportunity to honor him.  Thank you for challenging me to have the courage to change.  My husband will never go a day without knowing his wife needs, loves and respects him.”

Another person emailed me because my comments motivated her to look at her own issues with the overall concept of personal responsibility.  This young woman wrote that she was motivated by my comments to stop her methamphetamine addiction:

“I have chosen to quit.  Once you stop feeling like such a victim to some inanimate object (the pipe does not jump into your mouth on its own) you realize your power over it.”

Other folks, though, seemed absolutely apoplectic over my point of view that people need to take responsibility for their lives and their relationships. 

Clearly this is the crux of the problem in this country.  The concept of promoting personal responsibility in a society that encourages victims to stay victims and glamorizes the bad behavior of celebrities and politicians seems to be a hot button that makes some folks’ heads explode.  People tend to hold on to their anger, hurt and depression, especially if they don’t have the tools they need to break out of the cycle of personal self-destruction.

That’s why I wrote Stop Whining, Start Living.  I wrote it because I wanted to help people enjoy their lives more and be more content inside themselves.  None of us can do that if we persist in the self-defeating notion that we are victims… that only leads to complaining and not LIVING.

This book is not for people who want to embrace their problems – it’s for people who want to solve them and move on to a more productive and happy life.  If you want to feel more in control of your situations in families, neighborhoods, jobs, etc., then you first have to look inside yourself and see what YOU are doing that you shouldn’t be… or what you are NOT doing that you should be!  This is where the power to change everything comes in.

Some people won’t ever do this.  They hold on to sadness, victimhood and complaints.  But those who read Stop Whining with an open heart and mind will find the keys – through other people’s real experiences and stories – to make their life easier and more pleasurable; to improve their lives as husbands, wives, parents, and friends, and to discover the joy of being an evolved human being.

Getting letters and calls from people who have taken my advice to stop whining and turn themselves into productive members of society is all the inspiration I need to keep on keeping on.  That’s what puts the smile on my face.

Book signing tonight in Costa Mesa, California:  And if you want to see me really smile and you live in L.A. or Orange County, come on down tonight to the Barnes and Noble at the Metro Pointe Mall in Costa Mesa at 7pm.  I’ll be signing copies of the aforementioned new book, Stop Whining, Start Living for all of you who embrace your own personal responsibility.