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It's so easy for us to look to others to shoulder our guilt for occurrences in the past. We accuse our parents for our lack of self-esteem. We blame our teachers for our lack of motivation. We blame siblings for our unwillingness to express ourselves. And then later on, we place on our mate's shoulders the weight of our inability to sustain a loving relationship. Yet, is anyone to blame?
No one is to be blamed, yet there is a responsibility to be taken and it is ours and ours alone.
Responsibility vs. Blame
The word responsibility consists of two words 'response' and 'ability'. It is the ability that we have to respond in any way we choose to any given situation. You can respond with anger, or you can respond with acceptance and peace.
Who is responsible for the feelings of grief and sadness in our heart? Who is responsible for the attitudes we carry about the hurdles that we find ourselves facing? Who is responsible for the anger and resentments that we harbor within? Who is responsible for the bubbling laughter and joy that arises also from within? Who has the ability to respond to whatever comes their way?
Let's suppose that a co-worker says something and you feel you were criticized. You may choose to feel hurt or you may choose to look at that person's comments simply as their perception of you. You have the ability to respond in any way you choose. You can respond defensively (or offensively), or you can choose to see that this co-worker is simply bringing you a message. You can then look at that message and see what truth there is in it for you and what you can learn from it.
No One "Makes Us" Do Anything... Unless We Agree To It
On so many occasions in our lives, we have been quick to respond with anger, and claim that 'he/she made me angry'. An important thing to realize is that no one can "make you" angry except yourself.
This attitude is very empowering. Someone could consciously try to make you angry, yet if you do not choose to respond with anger, that person's efforts would be unfulfilled. One, of course, can think of the parable in the Bible about Jesus turning the other cheek. Rather than choosing anger, he chose to respond peacefully.
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It's Their Fault !!! If They Hadn't Done That...
Many times, I have seen in myself and in others a tendency to avoid taking responsibility for our own 'stuff' by placing the blame on someone else. 'If they hadn't done that, I wouldn't be angry...' 'If my mother had loved me more, I wouldn't be so withdrawn within myself...' 'If my brother hadn't pushed me around, I would be more willing to express myself...' or whatever other scenario of blame and resentment we are holding on to.
Yet, in all situations, we, as the powerful beings that we really are, always have the choice of how we respond. It is always up to us, whether we choose to be sad or joyful, angry or understanding, fearful or trusting. I'm not saying that it's always an easy choice, but it is our choice nevertheless.
Seeing Both Sides of Every Situation, Of Every Choice
In confronting situations, do we only see one side, or do we open ourselves up to understand and relate to the point of view of others? In an uncertain moment, do we give in to our feelings of doubt and fear, or do we surrender to the moment knowing that everything that comes to us is there for us to experience in whatever way we choose?
Yes, each one of us is 100% responsible -- able to respond in any way we choose. Why do some of us choose misery and pain? Do we feel the need to punish ourselves or others for events that have taken place in the past?
We have the choice to respond to the past with forgiveness and through the light of understanding that we, and others, are not perfect and were indeed doing the best we could at that time. Any time someone acts in a way that you would judge negatively, remember that they are only doing what they feel they have to do at that moment. You may not agree with their reasons but you do have the choice of responding with an expression of compassion and forgiveness... or not.
Who Are We Hurting With Our Blame?
Any feelings of negativity that we carry around are, first and foremost, hurting our own self. These feelings are stored in our body and become like a rotting core of energy that poisons our every moment.
Why encumber yourself with feelings of anger, hatred, and thirst for revenge? Any negative feelings you harbor do not hurt the person they are directed to; these feelings are hurting the person who is carrying them around -- you.
It is much better to empty ourselves of stored emotional hurts and fill ourselves instead with light, love, and compassion. We will feel much better when we are living in a clean, light-filled body. It's our choice... Let the light of love shine and make the darkness of unforgiveness and old resentments disappear. See the pain dissolve into well-being.
Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation
by Sanaya Roman.
You can stop being affected by the world around you and feel more inner peace through connecting with your deeper self. You can stop being affected by the world and instead positively affect it with your peace. You can live a life filled with happiness and aliveness as you follow your path of joy. You can learn to create what you want and take a quantum leap in every area of your life, changing your reality and what you experience. You can live a life doing those things you love to do, feel joyful, and bring joy to everyone around you as you do.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com