“If we wish to free ourselves from enslavement, we must choose freedom and the responsibility this entails.” – Leo Buscaglia
I’ve just woken up from a dream where I got into a text debate with an old acquaintance, and I felt the immediate need to write about the exchange. Last night I recorded a podcast with a friend, and at one point we discussed the idea of empowering yourself through responsibility. That most people would rather blame their childhood, their parents, their partner, their city, the recurring illness they may have, a traumatic experience from their past, as the reason that they “can’t have” something. That something being happiness, success, love, or well, anything.
In this text conversation in my dream, this person was trying to blame me for the negative circumstances for their life, and make me feel bad for what I had achieved. I am fully aware that some years ago, an idea like this would have made me crumble and I would have accepted both ideas fully.
Fault and responsibility are not best friends who go everywhere together. If something is someone else’s fault, your environment’s fault, the neighbor’s dog’s fault, it’s always still your responsibility to deal with if it. “What!? But I didn’t do anything!”, correct! The thing is, if something that wasn’t your fault is effecting you, you basically have two choices. You can deal with it inside yourself and be okay with it, ultimately coming to a solution, or you can spend the rest of your life giving away your power to some person or circumstance who “ruined your life”.
This isn’t just for large, dramatic things either. You can take responsibility on a daily basis. If you lose your patience to everyone who walks slowly down the street, who doesn’t behave exactly the way you want them to, you’re literally handing out your power of responsibility to EVERYONE. You’re actively dis-empowering yourself on a daily basis.
Worry not dear reader, awareness is the first and nearly only step. You’ve got all you need now to immediately shift the perspective. Next time you think “wow, what a jerk that guy is, how dare he cut me off / say that to me / not see how amazing I am”, let the fault go where it wants to, but take responsibility to not let it get to you. Like anything worth doing, it’ll take practice, but it might be one of the most important things you’ve ever done.