Taking responsibility for yourself can be one of the scariest and yet most freeing things you can do for yourself, for your life and for others. By taking responsibility for your own thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions means that you are willing to grow up, admit and correct your mistakes and claim your life by standing on your own two feet. Pointing your fingers at another and blaming them for how you feel and your life’s circumstances is a great way of remaining emotionally stunted, potentially limited, depressed and miserable. Not only are you weighed down by continually wearing the victim chain mail, but you will always feel that you are at the mercy of life, as it seems life deals out nothing but one injustice after another! And that just isn’t true.
Instead of pointing your fingers at another, try looking inwards and see what is it within you that needs to project the blame onto someone or something else. By looking within you start to begin unravelling the hurt that has been suppressed for a long time and by doing so, you awaken to your true feelings and life begins to change. By blaming others you stay the same.
A simple example is where my son would catch his toes on the corner of his bed leg. Every day he would kick his toe and every day he would yell out a mouthful of expletives to the illusory bed manufacturers in his room and tell them how ridiculous their bed design was. Then he would mumble to himself about the bed under his breath for the next half hour or so.
I listened to him do this for several weeks until I said to him that if he isn’t prepared to look at what is actually happening, ie what belief and emotions are causing his outbursts, then how about he do something different instead of wanting the bed leg to be different?
I said, “Why don’t you put some bubble wrap or foam around the bed leg, so when you kick it, it doesn’t hurt as much. Or how about you become more mindful? You know that you kick your toes on the bed leg every day, so you know where the bed leg is…so be mindful of that and step more carefully around it…wouldn’t that be more logical than blaming the bed designers and hoping to wake up one day to find the bed leg different or in a different place?! Wouldn’t this change the quality of your life? No more being upset every day about a bed, as you can take responsibility of what happens and recognise that it is you, and not the bed, that has the problem!”
Why did he need to project and blame the bed and the bed manufacturer? Perhaps he didn’t want to feel the feelings that arose if he looked inwards and found a belief he had about himself. Derogatory self beliefs hurt and if left uninvestigated will keep you crippled for life! It could be the “I am stupid” belief, or “I am not good enough” or “shit always happens to me” belief. Only he would know. But it certainly was an opportunity to investigate the validity of the belief and allow the feelings that arose with it, instead of running away from them and yelling at the bed instead. By actually taking responsibility for his emotions, which really means caring for himself, the reactions would have started to change. By taking responsibility of, and for yourself, you can change patterns and not re-live life like Bill Murray did in the movie Groundhog Day!
This story may sound as if it is more about common sense, but it is a valid example. People blame others for their mood, emotions, life, state of mind and life. How can someone or something make you feel bad or sad or even happy for that matter?! You have a choice in this. Don’t look outward to place blame with someone or on something else. What past event were you reminded of by the current event for those emotions and feelings to appear? Have a look within and find out what the belief is that was triggered that brought up those emotions and feelings. It will be a belief that you believe about yourself that has been triggered and has nothing to do with the other.
The serenity prayer is a good mantra to have.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.