Galina Lifschitz: You Should Learn to Be Responsible for Yourself
About why and how one should teach responsibility in people
Galina Lifschitz is a person who helps people find a way in the maze of their souls. She is the author of a number of psychological novels and a logotherapist. She discussed with the Eurasian Women’s Community journalists why the sense of responsibility is important and how to teach the younger generation to be responsible.
Galina Lifschitz - PhD in Philology, semantic scientist, writer, translator from Czech, German, and Slovak, lexicologist, student of a great Russian philosopher and philologist Aleksei Losev and academician of RAS Dmitry Shmelev, logotherapist
The publisher wrote the following at the book cover of the I’m Always Lucky by Galina Lifschitz: “This is a book of one of the best contemporary authors. Literary critics admire her language and hundreds of thousands of readers adore the plot of her books”. That's not an exaggeration. Many famous Russian literary critics and researchers including Lev Anninsky, Valentin Oskotsky, and Elena Takho-Godi highly appraised her works.
Her life had a challenging beginning because Ms. Lifschitz was growing up without parents. She achieved everything in her life by overcoming obstacles thanks to her strong spirit, love towards life, and hard work. Despite everything, Galina Lifschitz achieved great success and became a role model for people around.
Galina Lifschitz is an author of more than 35 books. They include fiction, monographs in the field of semantics, research book about Osip Mandelstam, a Russian Jewish poet, and books in the fields of psychology and logotherapy.
She speaks several European languages. The book ‘Legends, Tales and Myths of the Western Slavs’ composed and translated by Galina Lifschitz became a bestseller. In 2018, she was awarded the Medal of Josef Jungmann (the Czech Republic) for her outstanding contribution to cultural dialogue between Slavonic peoples.
In addition to education of philologist, Galina Lifschitz has psychological education. She graduat
ed from the Third Viennese School of Psychoanalysis and the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis. Today, Ms. Lifschitz delivers lectures and conducts research.
She is a mother of three especially creative children. Her daughter Olga is a poet and member of the Writers Union. Her first son Zakhar is a journalist and second son Pavel is a singer, composer, and former lead vocalist of the Russian pop rock band called ‘Korni’.
Reflection on the Responsibility
Nowadays, people often say the word ‘responsibility’. Galina Lifschitz believes, that is not a coincidence. According to her, the society has recognised that every person misses the most important thing. Long years of a totalitarian regime in Russia affected the people’s attitude to themselves and to what happens around them. “Do what is requested. No one is asking your opinion” was the slogan characterising the decades of the past in Russia. The past has gone. However, the slow motion of thinking and the fear to act remained.
“When you are asking students the simplest question they are silent and avoid looking at you. No one of them wants to show off. Everybody is afraid of making a mistake. This silence means fear and the lack of desire to act, the inability to take responsibility for oneself including one’s mistakes and ignorance”, says Galina Lifschitz. She believes that people have much to do with that.
“Responsible approach, spirituality, and freedom are the three core existential phenomena and issues that need to be reflected on.”
Speaking about responsibility, Ms. Lifschitz offers to identify several groups. The first group is divided into something a person is responsible to (his or her consciousness) and somebody a person is responsible to (God or something similar to the notion of God). The second group includes what a person is responsible for (himself or herself, people around, and the world in general).
One must find answers to these questions only on one’s own.
Viktor Frankl told much about searching for answers and taking decisions. He quoted Adolf Portmann: “The human has the liberty to make decisions regardless of any circumstances”.
For Whom Are We Responsible?
When writing a book ‘Thirst for Sense’, Galina Lifschitz faced an astounding fact. She conducted a quiz on the topic of responsibility with 100 people taking part in it.
There was a question “For whom are you responsible?” and nobody answered “For myself”. All the quizzed feel responsible for their children and elderly parents. However, only 8% of them feel responsible for the world in general.
As a result of denial of responsibility for oneself, we face a special phenomenon. Galina Lifschitz calls it ‘shifting personal responsibility for oneself to the outer object of concern’. A totalitarian regime appears in the family in this case. Taking care of one’s nearest and dearest turns into something hypertrophied. One deprives them of the right to free personal development, taking decisions, and looking for their life purpose.
“One mustn’t equate responsibility for other people with power over them and security functions. Every person is exceptional! The main inborn right is the right to his or her own search for life's purpose, the right to make mistakes and to risk, and the right to privacy”, comments Galina Lifschitz.
Personal liberty is based on those rights. However, even within families they are permanently violated thus bringing up irresponsibility as the only way to survive in unacceptable conditions.
“Responsibility for oneself doesn’t mean the denial of being responsible for people around. It helps a person find the balance and act with dignity taking into consideration his or her liberty and conscience”, explains Ms. Lifschitz.
Bringing Up Responsibility
Bringing up responsibility in people requires painstaking work. According to Galina Lifschitz, the example of parents is the key aspect here. It is not words but actions that bring us up.
It is important that children are independent. In this regard, it is necessary to provide them with freedom even in the little things, for example, in tying their shoelaces. Children must feel responsible for their own lives and safety.
Sometimes parents are excessively caring with their children. They do their children’s homework, clean their rooms, and thus take on their children’s responsibility. However, every person should live his or her life on their own.
“Yes, we must support the helpless but our main duty is to teach our children the spiritual strength and understanding of their responsibility for their lives that will be fully passed to them upon growing up. Sports and other activities aimed at achieving personal results also contribute to bringing up responsibility. However, this is another topic that can and must be discussed in detail for a long time”, concluded Galina Lifschitz.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov