Fault vs. Responsibility

Actor Will Smith, has posted a video on Instagram which is getting a lot of attention.  It is about Fault vs. Responsibility.

You can view this short video here:

Fault vs. Responsibility

What a powerful message!  Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when one is being a victim but if we can notice that we’re blaming others, this will help us realize that we’re caught in the trap of fault vs. responsibility.

“Hurt people, hurt people”

 It’s natural to want to want to cause hurt, if we’ve been hurt, but if we stay stuck in this “pay-back” way of thinking we lose our power.

When we or our children are anxious, one of the mind tricks that happens is we blame those around us.  It’s a defence mechanism to blame others and then we protect our vulnerability.

When we’re in a state of fight, flight or freeze, we can’t think clearly and we are in protection mode.  Attacking others is part of the fight response.  Later, when things have calmed down, it is possible to take responsibility and be vulnerable.

Our Heart, Our Life, Our Happiness

I love what Will Smith says about taking responsibility for our own happiness, our own life and our own heart.

It’s true bad things do happen, but if we stay focused on those bad things, then we will be caught in a trap of negativity and blame.

“Our thoughts create our reality”

When bad things happen to children, they don’t have to be alone in taking responsibility (I believe Will Smith’s message was directed to adults).  We can help them through their struggles, but in the end, it is up to them to take responsibility.

In my talks and in my previous posts: How to Teach Your Child to Apologize? The 3R’s of Parenting or Any Relationship, and Why Time-Outs Are Out (and Grounding Too!) I share the idea of helping children make amends when they have done something wrong, which is in essence, taking responsibility.  If we teach them this concept from a young age, it will continue with them throughout their lives.

We will be teaching them the difference between fault vs. responsibility.

Explaining Fault vs. Responsibility to Young Children

In my counselling sessions, I often teach parents and children about Steven Covey’s Circle of Control and Circle of Influence – I have written about this concept here.  This is another way of creating a visual for fault vs. responsibility.

When we are focused on trying to change or control others we are caught in fault, and when we work on ourselves and what is within our influence, we are being responsible.  The whole concept of fault vs. responsibility can be difficult for younger children to understand but the visual of the circles helps.

Furthermore, we begin teaching them about responsibility when we ask them: “Whose job is it?” or “Whose Responsibility Is It?”  Take the quiz here to see if you are giving your child enough responsibility.

This is a good time to reflect and think about areas in your life where you may be faulting others and may be able to create change through your own actions.

“The road to power is in taking responsibility”  ~ Will Smith

Will adds that taking responsibility doesn’t mean an admission of guilt, it means that you’re taking your power back.

Here’s to your happiness, your life, your heart.


fault vs. responsibility

PS.  Registration is currently open for my next round of self-empowerment groups.  The 7-9 year old group is full but there is still room in the 10-12yrs. group (3 spaces left).  You can find out more and register online here.

PPS.  My new children’s anxiety book: Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave ~ Empowering Children approximately ages 5-10yrs. to Understand and Overpower Anxiety is available for purchase here. ($39.99 CAD) It also includes an accompanying digital discussion and activity guide to support you with each concept.


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