“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” – Pema Chödrön
You attract people and situations into your life that confirm your internal world. The best indicator of the internal work you have to do is the dis-order, dysfunction, or chaos in your current external world. Like I wrote in a previous post, your mind will always align with what you tell it and you will always manifest whatever it is that you’re telling yourself.
You continue to be triggered by the same situation because you haven’t yet addressed the underlying issue. The same problem keeps appearing because you have yet to respond differently.
You will continue to be triggered and activated unless you take responsibility towards changing your response when you’re faced with the problem. There is no other way. You can try to ignore it, push it aside, put a band-aid on it, whatever. It’ll work for the time being, sure, but if you haven’t contemplated how you contribute to the problem and why it keeps occurring, it will continue to present itself until you change something. Your response or reaction to challenges, annoyances, and difficulties signifies the level of your internal work and growth. Meaning, if you find yourself responding differently than before (e.g. less harshly, less impulsively, more compassionately, with a clearer head, quicker, emotionally controlled, etc. – there’s a myriad of examples that can pertain to your situation and experience), then this is how you can gauge your growth. If your different response is yielding a desired result, this indicates that you’re looking at the world differently and that you have begun to take responsibility for your actions and experience. But if you find yourself in the same dilemma repeatedly, start paying attention to how you contribute to the problem.
Accepting responsibility is one of the most essential and enlightening tasks humans can commit to. It is the marker of maturity and growth. Accepting responsibility moves you from a victim mindset and transforms your life. Accepting responsibility for your problems and your whole experience allows you to tap into the strength, creativity, and resilience that you may have previously relinquished, knowingly or unknowingly. If you’re always blaming or looking towards external sources to solve your problems or to comfort you, you minimize your own ability and give up the power to take care of yourself. This is the precursor to developing a victim mentality.
When your automatic response is to blame and look externally, you give up all power. You give all the power to others, who can now disappoint you or hurt you. And when they do hurt or disappoint you, you then continue the victim cycle by blaming them. You blame them for what YOU gave them the power to do. This can turn rather quickly into an unhealthy cycle and the deeper you are, the less likely you’ll be able to realize that the only way out of it is to change YOUR behavior, not to continue blaming or expecting the other person to do something differently. The only way to stop this cycle is for YOU to begin taking complete responsibility for your feeling and actions.
The refusal to accept full responsibility for everything that happens in your life sets the perfect stage to blame others – this is precisely why you do it. When you fail to take action or don’t make decisions towards solving a conflict or problem, you are not the person who’s looked to for answers or held accountable. You also don’t hold yourself accountable. This is you taking the easy road. On the other hand, the person that made the decision will be expected to explain; that person is more likely to be held accountable, both by himself and you. Another opportunity for you to blame and point fingers, instead of adding to the solution.
Leaders Invite Responsibility
Every action you don’t take maintains mediocrity and stagnation. It is only through action and doing and failing and messing up that you learn, grow, and progress in your life. When someone else makes the call or takes responsibility, you continue hiding and living in mediocre land. This is how you remain small and insignificant. No true leader or master ever shied away from responsibility, learning, risk, or growth. Leaders step into this role willingly and confidently, with an awareness that their decision has the potential of not yielding ideal results. They do it anyway because they’re not afraid of the discomfort of difficult emotions or difficult conversations. You don’t grow and progress by avoiding mistakes or by avoiding challenging interactions or difficult conversations. You grow by stepping into the situations that make you the most scared, uncomfortable, or challenged. There is no other way.
You have to be willing to talk about your mistakes and your shortcomings if you ever have the chance of changing or improving them. You have to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable emotions that certain conversations evoke, without becoming too overwhelmed and deflecting, blaming, lashing out, or placating. All these are just strategic ways to move into avoidance.
Taking responsibility for your problems and your experience requires you to change. This is why so many people avoid it. For example, if you messed up by doing something that contributed to an argument with your significant other, taking responsibility for the problem requires that you do something differently next time the same topic comes up. Taking responsibility means you spend time thinking how you contributed to the argument so that you prevent having the same reaction in the future. This is where most people get stuck. They don’t take responsibility and don’t practice self-awareness, instead they blame the other person and expect them to do things differently next time, while they remain the same. This is so much easier, I know. It’s also immature, stagnant, and victim-centered. Qualities you should not strive to maintain.
Responsibility and Fulfilling Relationships
Responsibility and self-examination go hand-in-hand. If you take responsibility for the problem, you will need to examine yourself and your role in the argument, and then do something different in the future to prevent the same argument or the same outcome. The reality is, couples replay the same argument over and over throughout the course of their relationship, with both people maintaining the exact same response each time. Is there any surprise then that it keeps occurring?
By blaming your partner for the argument, you are basically granting yourself the permission to act in the same manner again (not change), while expecting your partner to act differently (change). This mentality is both immature and completely unnerving.
Most people have it completely backwards, meaning they’re stuck in their victim mentality, spewing blame, resentment, and demands all over the place. They render themselves powerless by their own doing and then wonder why things aren’t changing. There is a better way, my friend.
It is only by taking full responsibility for yourself that you regain complete control over yourself, your actions, and your experience. YOU DO HAVE THE POWER to prevent things from occurring that you don’t want to engage in. It takes YOU acting and responding in a different way, without expecting someone else to do it. If your main expectation is for others to change so that issues don’t arise, you’re in for a long wait, because you have zero control over anyone else. A shift must occur in your mentality, from victim to leader. Responsibility increases control and confidence; the more we feel responsible for something, the more likely we are to take action. The more likely we are to take action, the more likely we are to see the results we desire. So, look to yourself first and always. This is how you will strengthen your emotional resolve. This is how you will develop your resilience and confidence. This is how you will see your world transform.
As always, thank you for reading!
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