Being responsible for our lives takes on so many faces. Some we can easily look at and attend to, others are more uncomfortable. Taking responsibility for making the choices that will best support our efforts towards our intended outcomes can be very tricky. The head and the heart aren’t always speaking the same language, so we have to be the leader and determine how we will use the feedback we receive from each.
You know what they say (and I hope my HS English teacher, Mrs. Griggs, forgives me for this), “growing up ain’t easy!”
Growing up also has little to do with getting older.
I’ve seen my own child step up and show a whole lot more “maturity” than her mother. And, just for the record, I wholeheartedly embrace the challenges of raising an old soul!
No, I find that wisdom and maturity are not so much signs of “growing up” as they are markers of an awareness and acceptance of “what is” and an ability to take responsibility for our own part in it.
So what I want to discuss today is RESPONSIBILITY.
Why? Well, because it’s been a big theme in my life for the past month or so. All of my client sessions have focused on it, I have found myself in countless conversations about it, it’s echoed in EVERYTHING that’s been splashed across the news, and my own life has shown its laser beam right on it, as well. None of this is certainly surprising if you consider that we are all universally connected, so what one experiences, we all do. Not a new insight.
In less than a week, I’ll be turning 48. On one side, that realization conjures up an internal holy crap!, on the other, it’s a great time to reflect and celebrate.
One of my very top celebrations is my ability to face and deal with the responsibilities that I have in my life.
Yeah, I’m pretty darn proud of this. Mostly because it’s one area where I see a major dividing line in our world. There are those who do and those who don’t because they believe they can’t. This is also not so black and white. There are degrees and levels of responsibility, and at the end of the day, it’s a choice each and every time.
The thing is, every single ill that we experience personally and collectively can be ultimately attributed to a lack of responsibility. Think about it, and you’ll see what I’m saying.
One of the main challenges in learning to take responsibility for what is yours is to learn not to take responsibility or assign responsibility where it doesn’t belong. In other words, we have to know what is ours and what is not ours to attend to.
Now, I’m certainly not saying that, in my own life, I always approach responsibility with open arms.
Take a couple of weeks ago, for example. I was having some car trouble. Okay, a bunch of car issues, but that’s not the point. I thought I could turn over the work to someone skilled at dealing with it. When I tried and what I had intended didn’t happen, I experienced that inner responsibility push back. You know the one I’m talking about where you thought you were done with your end of things and you really don’t want to take back the reins. I was suddenly in the throws of this knee jerk desire to “off load” the responsibility onto my husband.
We all experience this in one form or another. The important thing is that we recognize what is going on by seeing it as the trigger that it is and move to reposition ourselves back into the driver’s seat. Taking responsibility not only for the issue, but for our thoughts, reaction and approach to it.
During moments like these, here’s the thing to remember . . . not wanting to take responsibility is very different from not taking responsibility.
As author, tv show personality and life coach, Mel Robbins, says “you’ll hardly ever be in the mood to do the right thing when it comes to a life challenge. It doesn’t give you a pass not to do it, though. You have two choices when your alarm goes off . . . get up and get going or stay in bed. Those who get ahead in life get up. Those who don’t, stay in bed.”
This is the deal, if we don’t learn to take responsibility for what’s ours, we never learn what we are capable of achieving.
So, here’s the toughest part. We all know that there are the external and culturally set expectations around taking responsibility that the world holds for us. What of the personal ones that “go against the grain?”
What happens when your religious, familial or own conditioned belief systems fight against a need that you have to take responsibility for something that desperately needs to change in your life? What then?
I know quite a few folks who are going through relationship stuff right now. Some are telling me that they know with every fiber of their being that they need to make a change, but this means making some seriously difficult decisions about the future. The thing is, in many of these cases, it’s not about a bunch of external problems (although what it’s really about may be manifesting in external behaviors and issues). The person in their life is a good person, it’s just not working for the other based on internal needs. What I am hearing a lot is “I just know I need to do this for my own growth and happiness.”
This is when the issue of responsibility gets more challenging, There are no rule books on what to do (although many may try to hand you one), and ultimately the decision has to be our own and made with faith and trust in our own inner guidance.
What I do know for sure is this, what ultimately and authentically serves the one also serves the many. When we take the leap of faith and make the tough choices, taking responsibility for our own joy and needs, others are allowed to do the same.
One of my biggest issues when I look at our world today is so many people expect others to step up and take responsibility, yet they don’t do the same.
Our culture is filled with finger pointing.
It’s the government’s fault.
It’s my parents’ fault.
It’s my husband’s/wife’s fault.
You know what they say about finger pointing . . . one finger pointing out, three more pointing back.
What if we stopped trying to establish “fault” or “blame” and instead looked at where each of us could serve the solution?
If I have a fear of “showing up,” I could blame my parents for faulty modeling, the world, at large, for beating me down, or I could become aware of this, my triggers to it and begin working to repattern and reprogram myself to a different belief and approach to this issue.
What would the world look like if each of us were to do this?
Well, it would certainly be job security for me, since we all need support to be able to reprogram and repattern ourselves. I mean, who ever came up with the term “self made?” There is no such thing!
So, how do we begin to create a model for this? For ourselves, our children and the rest of the world?
How can we support one another towards this end instead of just tearing down those who don’t feel they have the tools necessary to take responsibility in their lives?
How do we stop talking responsibility for other’s lack of ability to be responsible? Do we truly help them by doing it for them? Is enabling the answer? How’s it working so far?
I would love for you to consider these questions for yourself. I would also love to hear what you come up with!
After all, the responsibility for how this world is shaped falls on all of our shoulders. And it starts with what each of us chooses to be responsible for in our own lives . . . today.
Yep, it’s time to really grow up!