I remember as a child, during the long and very cold winters up North, standing at the window for what seemed like hours. I would stand there staring at the cold snow with my ongoing thought being, "It's so boring here!" I felt sorry for myself and spent my time at the window waiting... Waiting for what? Possibly for something to happen, for some occurrence that would somehow give me a life that was full of excitement and fun.
When I look back at the child that I was, I see that my problem was not the cold weather... it was my attitude towards it. Rather than find creative ways to spend the time, I spent that time complaining about something I could not change. Rather than do something that would help me enjoy the cold days, I spent them as if I was helpless to create a better day for myself.
Waiting To Be Rescued?
This pattern I have seen repeated both in myself and in others around me. Maybe we could call it the sleeping beauty/frog prince complex. It consists of waiting for something or someone to deliver us from whatever situation we have gotten ourselves into. We even pray "deliver us from evil"... again expecting to be rescued from whatever mess we have created.
Look at your life and see if this behavior applies to you as well. Do you find yourself bemoaning your present situation (job, relationship, living situation, etc.) without doing anything about it? Are you waiting for your fairy godmother to deliver you? or possibly for God (or a knight) to come charging in on a white steed? or Jesus or some extraterrestrials to come down from above?
It seems that we humans have a tendency to look around ourselves and lay the responsibility for the occurrences in our lives on someone else. That looks something like this: If we have problems at home or at work, it's the other person's fault. We easily say that it's because of the other person's behavior (or the weather) that we are unhappy. Sometimes we even look further to lay blame. We look into our past and find fault with our upbringing, previous relationships, religion, etc. It's all THEIR fault!
Rather than take responsibility for things not being quite the way we want them, it seems easier to look around and find scapegoats. This usually tends to be people close to us: co-workers, husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, neighbors, our family, etc.
It's Not My Fault... It's Because of Them...
The problem with that outlook is that if your situation is someone else's fault then the solution must also be in their hands. Whereas, if you take responsibility for creating your own "stuff" then at least you have the option of changing it. Of course, with a metaphysical perspective, we know that we are the ones responsible... no one else. Yet somehow, when we get caught up in the nitty-gritty of our existence, we sometimes fail to remember that we are in charge.
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At those times, we may fall back on blame. If we have a problem with others, it's because they are not in tune... not because we lack understanding, patience, and compassion. If we get treated harshly in the world, it's because 'those other people' are bitchy and negative... not us. If we get into an accident or collision (whether physical or emotional), it's not us who is at fault...of course not! It's THEM!
When we get caught up in our stuff, we tend to overlook all our metaphysical lessons and conveniently forget that we create our own reality. Do we do this because we know that if we admit that we are responsible, we'll have to look at our life and see what changes we need to make in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our expectations, in our actions? There is no one out there to blame! We are the ones that need to stand up and say "I did it! I created this! I'm responsible!"
Taking Responsibility Means You Can Change Things
Once you admit that you are the one responsible for creating the mess, then and only then, can you change it. How can you change something if you have nothing to do with it? Admit it! You are the only one who can change your own life. Got it? Great! Now you can atart doing something about it.
Let's start by looking at what we are expecting to happen in our life. Not what we want, not what we would love, but what we expect. That is what really counts. If we are asking to win a million dollars, we must believe (and expect) that we will get it. We can be asking for world peace, but unless we really expect it to happen we are not giving peace a chance. Whatever it is that we are asking for in life, whether it is a material possession or world peace, unless we expect it to manifest, we are barking up the wrong tree.
It's amazing what that little voice inside, the doubting Thomas, can prevent us from having. There is a part of our mind that believes all the metaphysical principles. We dutifully repeat affirmations. We strive to think positively and to cancel the negative thoughts. We visualize our dreams coming true, yet if somewhere inside there is a part of us that does not really expect it, then we've cheated ourselves out of success.
We really need to be the guardians of our thoughts and subconscious beliefs. We need to take a stand and say, "I'm the boss of my life. I decide what goes on here!" And then, be constantly on the alert for any undermining responses that may be coming from the subconscious or conscious mind.
The beliefs that we have made our own are many. The programs we accepted are numerous. Yet, we are in charge of our body and mind. We need to be clear about what we choose to have and what we accept and expect in our life.
We all have a creative aspect of ourselves which resides within and expresses itself as a quiet voice. Maybe if we weren't so busy complaining and blaming, we would hear what that voice has to say. It has millions of fun, creative solutions to whatever ails us. Listen in and make changes!
© by Marie T. Russell
A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times
by Jack Kornfield.
The practices in this book are not positive thinking, quick fixes, or simplistic self-help strategies. They are powerful tools for doing "the work of the soul" to access our inner knowing and to embrace the fullness of our life experience. With regular practice, these teachings and meditations enable you to transform your difficulties into a guiding light for the journey ahead. Just as it is certain that each life will include suffering, explains Kornfield, it is also true that in every moment there is the possibility of transcending your difficulties to discover the heart's eternal freedom. With A Lamp in the Darkness, he offers you a beacon for yourself and others until joy returns again. Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
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 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com