Total Personal Responsibility
In life, it is easy to blame others when things don’t seem to go our way. Taking the position of victim, or pointing the finger of blame never allowed anyone to obtain true happiness– or at least it shouldn’t.
When I was about six years old, my younger sister and I were waiting in our old tan Travelall in the parking lot waiting for my dad to come out of the store he was visiting (this was the ’70’s, and it was a small store lest anyone thinks we were abused). At any rate, I decided to jump in the front seat and pretend to drive, almost immediately popping the beast into neutral. My young sister and I began to roll backwards toward the street and cross traffic. At this point I did what any young brave boy would do- I abandoned the steering wheel, jumped in the very back of the SUV and prepared for death.
I remember looking up and seeing my father exiting the store and sprinting toward us at top speed. He saved us, but was NOT happy. He asked what happened…. silence. He asked who did it…. I pointed my finger at my younger sister. In the end, I got candy and my sister did not. I found happiness, uh… right?
Here is a case where blaming someone else worked… temporarily…. but I was six years old, and truth be told I learned nothing that would help me succeed correctly in life by blaming my sister for my actions. A sign of maturity is that we take responsibility for our actions. This is a lesson that many fail to learn though out life. Pointing the finger away from ourselves is like gravity, if we are not aware,
The longer it takes to learn this lesson, the longer it will take for us to find the true happiness and fulfillment we are looking for. Don’t blame your parents, don’t blame the economy, don’t blame your boss. Whether life goes for you or against you ask yourself this one question: “Did I do my very best?”
It is a freeing concept to admit that we have not done what we told ourselves we would do, to embrace our mistakes and faults. Only then can we learn from that mistake and never make it again. Only then can we see and accept our lives and our situations as they really are, and when we see things as they really are right now, we can choose a different outcome for our future.
Think about that…. can you give away something you don’t own? Of course not (not legally anyway). If I borrow a car, and do not like it, I can’t give it away to someone else just to get it off my hands. However I can choose to give away, or sell, or fix, or do whatever I want with a car or anything else that I OWN! Our situations are ours and ours alone. When we take responsibility for them WE OWN THEM AND THUS HAVE POWER TO CHANGE THEM!
But what if what was done to us to cause our current state was truly out of our control and not our fault? TAKE OWNERSHIP ANYWAY. Notice I did not say BLAME yourself, just take ownership. You will notice that the less you blame others and the more personal responsibility you take for yourself even, and sometimes especially, when you were not at fault, the solutions seem to come more quickly and with higher level outcomes. Not to mention, the happier you will be.
I felt a tinge of guilt every time my father would bring up the story about my sister putting the old Travelall in neutral to family or friends. That “small” rejection of personal responsibility (or LIE) had to be perpetuated to keep the story straight. Years later, I told my dad and sister that I was the one that put the Travelall in neutral, that I had blamed my sister for it, and enjoyed the candy. We all got a laugh out of it, but I somehow felt a small burden lifted, and just a little more empowered to first accept myself (warts and all) for who I am, and to change into the man I was meant to be.
We all face this battle every day. Do we binge on the temporary release that blame brings, or do we feast on the truth, on light and the more satisfying peace and happiness that comes from taking total personal responsibility.