Isn’t it strange how many times when things go wrong we look to another person to take the blame, to shift the responsibility ?It is a way of protecting oneself from the possible repercussions of whatever went wrong but it is definitely not the way to gain personal power and take control of your life. Yet many people who wish to take charge of their lives and work hard at changing the way they think still fall at this hurdle and I have done it myself. “Oh, for goodness sake it’s not my fault that I broke from my healthy eating plan, it was a birthday party, what could I do? I will hear myself say to myself when I am fed up at breaking my plan or I will say it to my family as an excuse but the excuse is really for me to hear as they do not judge my eating habits. I alone do that. This was just a way of abdicating my responsibility and giving away my personal power and actually achieved nothing but a feeling of resignation and frustration. I have changed how I talk to myself now because that way was not working. If I chose to eat something unhealthy now that is what it is, my choice, no one to accept responsibility for it but me. No event to blame, just me .My choice and the strange thing is when it is my choice, my responsibility I actually seldom choose to do it.
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
What if though we are continuing to blame our inability to change the big stuff in our life on others? If you are fighting with those you love and blame them for holding you back. If you blame your background, or education or the things other people have done to you? Whether you are right or wrong in these accusations does not matter at all. It achieves absolutely nothing by apportioning the blame at someone else’s door. The only effect it has is not a positive one. It does not make you happier or more satisfied that the right person was held accountable for your lack of progression in whatever way you desired; all it achieves is to hold you prisoner in your own self-appointed safe cell. I am absolutely certain that was not the unconscious minds initial intention when it set out to lay blame elsewhere but inevitably it is often the end result.
So how do we change it and gain back control of our lives? As you have probably guessed already it is simply to start taking personal responsibility for our own actions and our own choices. If we let ourselves be influenced by others, get led astray and find that the consequences are not to our liking, then do not blame them, even although they played a part. Recognise that it was your choice to go along with their decision and learn from it. What happened that you didn’t like? How did it go wrong? What have you learned from it that will better protect you from it happening again? All the answers you get to these questions will help you be stronger and grow in to the person you want to be and have the life you want to have.
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or to accept the responsibility for changing them.
Once you start to accept that it is your choice how you act and your choice to make decisions affecting your life, then you gain personal power and with that a contentment and self-acceptance that comes with choosing to live your own life. Even taking in to account the influence that others will have over you because you love them, live with them, or work with them, you can still be true to yourself whilst considering their needs. Do not resent other people for encouraging you to make decisions you later regret. Always remember that it was your choice to make the decision and learn from it, then move on. Do not hold on to a negative past by holding on to resentment.
I have had it said to me in the past by a client that they feel as if they have no control over their life or choices because of their job or the needs of their partner or even because of an ex-partner and the need to still see them because children are involved. This power that they believe the other person has over them and their decisions, greatly negatively impacts their lives. But the late Martin Luther King Jr who was fighting a great injustice summed it up beautifully in this quote:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
He had a choice and to him the choice was very clear. To do nothing and live a life made by other peoples choices. Be carried along by the negativity and hatred and so be consumed by it or to choose to be totally different from it. To be a guiding light, a beacon for all that is right. To make a personal choice to love and not hate and by doing so he changed not just himself and his circumstances but he changed the world.
So if you have to deal with a difficult partner, horrible boss or nasty ex-partner remember that it is your choice. Do you choose to be as nasty back, do you choose to let them impact you negatively when they are not around? Do you choose to allow them to steal all your positive energy and lay the blame firmly at their door for making you feel as bad as you do and in making this choice you are choosing to keep a perpetual negative circle of self-destruction? Or can you now decide to let them stay in the compartment of their own making but choose to love yourself enough to take personal responsibility, to make the necessary choices that will take you in a different and happier direction than the one you have been travelling with them?
When I look back on decisions I made and regretted, on the people I allowed to influence me when really I knew I shouldn’t and the choices that I made that were really not well thought out, I find that I can accept what they taught me and move on feeling no regret but strength in fact from the new knowledge gained, as long as I accept full responsibility for making them I can live with the consequences. My life and my responsibility.
If you are finding yourself stuck, still falling in to the trap of laying the blame for it at others doors. Decide today to let it go. Accept your past mistakes and decisions and choose today to learn from them and start to move on. It is almost certainly that by doing so you will find that you feel instantly stronger and happier. Don’t take my word for it start right now and see.