Complete responsibility for our lives is a scary concept to consider however it is paramount to the achievement of happiness. There is no way we can expect to be happy unless we accept the responsibility for our suffering as well as our joy.
The beauty of taking responsibility for our lives is that once we get over the initial shock of: Oh crap, everything is my fault! We can settle into the: Oh sweet, I can make better choices! The realization that we don’t have to make the same mistakes again, that we can choose happier situations and experiences is liberating! Think of it, how freeing is it to know that you have the ability to bring happy experiences into your life instead of suffering.
First, the “Oh crap” part…if you follow the details of any of your experiences back to their beginning, you can find something you did at some point played a part in how things turned out. You were involved.* Let’s say it’s choosing to be around someone who causes conflict and then you find yourself in the middle of a conflict they started later on. If you didn’t choose to be around them, then you wouldn’t be in the conflict. This can be a difficult concept to grasp however if you open your mind and make the effort, the payoff is tremendous! This backtracking technique can be used to find your part in many different types of situations.
Now, the “Oh sweet” part (my favorite)…understanding this opens you up to as much happiness as you choose. Taking some time to look at the past and learn from it results in not having to repeat it. Generally we make mistakes because we don’t know any better, it’s not because we’re trying to bring suffering into our lives. So now that we know better, we can live better, make better choices in who we associate with, how we handle situations and how we react to others. We can choose happiness now that we know we have the choice!
The trick is to assume the responsibility of our own lives first…the good and the bad…all of it! With this assumption of responsibility comes the freedom to design a wonderful life through conscious decisions. The work to do is yours and so is the payoff!
* I feel it’s important to state there can be severe situations such as childhood abuse that don’t necessarily apply – I’m talking about adults and children living they’re basic daily lives. Some situations may be very complex and seeking the guidance of a professional or even a close friend can be very beneficial. An outside perspective is usually helpful in finding the truth because our emotions can severely blur the reality of the situation.