I finished our last post by reminding you that you are responsible for the people you choose to follow. If you take on board their teachings, believe them, apply them to your life, then that’s your choice and once again you are responsible. All that responsibility, yet responsibility is such an undervalued thing, almost to the point that people want to deny it or ignore it. The paradox is that by taking responsibility for ourselves we begin to become able to gain freedom in our lives. Maybe only little by little but every step we take on the pathway of responsibility is a step closer to freedom.
I hope you agree with me because I want to say that it is rare in these days to meet a person who is prepared to take responsibility for his or her actions. There are just far too many reasons not to! So many things that can be blamed for how we behave.
We cannot have it both ways: if we are free, we are responsible: if we are not responsible, we are not free.Fulton Sheen
The favourite ones seem to be linked to our upbringing. Top of the list is usually our parents. Maybe they were not good parents, maybe they were very average, whatever, they are fair game. Some people were abused in childhood and that’s a deep dark hole, some didn’t experience love, some were neglected but the thing is, your parents will always be your parents so you have got to change. You want to go through the rest of your life a victim? No? Then, going forward you have to take responsibility for your life. Don’t get me wrong. I know it is not easy and there can be a world of pain and memories to walk away from but, ground zero, you have the choice, you take responsibility and begin to change your life, or you remain the victim and live where you currently are.
Me, I have been told I am a restless soul and I’m always trying to move on. As C.S.Lewis wrote: “Come further up, come further in”. We may not be responsible for what has been done to us but we are responsible for how we respond to it. Even allowing yourself to be angry may be the first step to breaking the bonds of victimhood, but if it is, know it is an initial step and you need to not stop but to take another step away. Living in anger is never the answer but it may give you the impetus to start taking responsibility. Move quickly from there and choose a better response.
The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it’s a different kind of life.Buckminster Fuller
Ever hear things like, “I was the oldest child so I didn’t get treated fairly”, which is contrasted by those who look back to a supposedly failed upbringing saying “I was the youngest child, so I was treated poorly”. Or, I came from a poor family so that’s why I’m like I am. But there are also those who blame the fact they came from a rich family! Geography, time, government, there are so many reasons people feel they are the way they are, but the choice is always the same. Do you want to remain what you are, where you are if you are unhappy? No? Then embrace responsibility. Don’t blame the past for your current behaviour. It won’t work. You need to own your actions and thoughts. Be responsible!
There will always be times when you can’t control what is happening to you. Big forces in play. You were blind sided. Whatever. But you still have the choice as to how you respond. No one made you angry, that was your chosen response to the situation. OK, you think it was a justified response and others are agreeing, but that’s not where the power lays. Make an act of will and get the upper hand. People have an array of gifts that they will want to give you throughout your life and not all will be desirable, like, here have some guilt or some low self worth. You don’t have to accept the gift. Thank you, but, no thank you is a legitimate response. Smile as you reply and, feel good as you think “screw you”. Let the power be in your smile.
I would be failing you if I didn’t make mention of consequences. As much as you always have a choice to your response, there will always be consequences. Be mindful of these and don’t let them catch you out. OK, let’s be blunt, you are already living the consequences of you choices. Do you like them? You are as much responsible for the consequences that you experience as you are for the life you live. You want better consequences? Make different choices. Take responsibility.
May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.Nelson Mandela
Consequences are as inevitable as the waves on the beach. Choose wisely. Choose bravely. Be responsible for the life you have to live. Be one of those rare people who owns their life and is able to be bigger than the sum of the events of their life to this point. There’s more than one life you can live and each is defined by your choices. Choose responsibly.
Yours, choosing life,