On Being Responsible
“People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want,
and if they cannot find them, make them”.
~ George Bernard Shaw
On Being Responsible
So, you know how on airplanes, they ask that you put your oxygen mask on first, then secure your child’s? Well, being responsible to ourselves is sort of like that. If we try to take responsibility for everything else in our lives, but don’t take responsibility for ourselves, life becomes out of balance. The common result of this out of balance is blame and punishment.
Many of us learned to blame others from the time we were children. Some of this is simply being human and some is what I call learned behavior. When we saw adults around us blaming someone else for what happened in their lives, it became habit to do the same. Over time and by example, blaming someone else for the circumstances in our lives becomes an automatic response.
A pitfall of blaming someone else for our circumstances is punishing others for whatever we are unable or unwilling to do for ourselves. When we don’t accept responsibility for our actions, blame someone else, then it becomes easy to punish someone else for our actions. After many years of observing this behavior, if we haven’t learned the value of accepting responsibility for our lives, it becomes just what we do.
I came from an abusive household where along with the physical and sexual abuse, I heard how everything was someone else’s fault. I learned to become a victim and a martyr. Continuously looking for love in all the wrong places, being passive- aggressive, longing for acceptance from those who were unable or unwilling to give it to me. Over time, I learned to blame and punish anyone who said they loved me and accepted me. Yet, if they didn’t do it the way I thought they should do it, I would blame them or punish them. And chronically pushed away healthy love when it showed up because it asked of me to be honest, healthy and to ask for what I need and want. This pattern of blame and punishment happens because we feel it is a way to protect ourselves from hurt or abandonment. As long a we are blaming or punishing someone else, we are not seeing what we need to do to learn to care for ourselves. And we end up giving our power over and over.
The word responsibility means “the ability to respond.” So, when we learn to respond from our authentic self, we come from a more empowered place. We can feel we are responsible to ourselves and our truth. If we want our life to be empowered, healthy, abundant, happy, filled with vitality, then we must be willing to take responsibility for all our thoughts, actions and deeds… every day, every time. No excuses, no exceptions. By our willingness to do this, we grow a feeling of inner strength and a sense of self- love that fosters resiliency.
When we respect ourself, love ourself, we are able to be clear with our personal, psychic, and emotional boundaries. This allows us to be responsible for our emotional safety. When we live from this place of responsibility, when we take responsibility for all our thoughts, actions and deeds, then we are no longer giving our power away.
If we look at the people we most respect, likely they are able to respond to their lives from a place of loving kindness, compassion and an inner strength. They speak their truth and are able to ask for what they need and want in their lives. We can observe from them that one doesn’t have to be abrasive, demanding, rude, or disrespectful to be powerful. Real power does not come from blaming or judging others. Real power comes from learning to be responsible for our own heart. Learning what it is we need to say, or to ask for, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Real power comes from a place deep inside oneself. A place where one can feel whole, content, and able to respond to whatever life would bring.
The ancient traditions of Tai Chi, Yoga, and Meditation, all resonate from this place of inner strength, inner stillness. These ancient arts don’t stem from pushing or harshness, but a gentle place of listening. Each one of us is the only author of our life. Certainly outside circumstances influence our life. But we are the only one who can choose how we will respond. And the choice we make can set us free or it can entrap us into a place of victimhood that blames and punishes. When we choose to be responsible to ourselves first, we are truly free. We can feel the empowerment of our lives and grow mastery… every single day.
Make a choice to accept responsibility for all your thoughts, actions and deeds, every day. No exceptions, no excuses. And watch yourself grow into the powerful, loving, honest being you are truly meant to be. And feel the joy of living an authentic life filled with integrity and mastery.