Responsible?

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“We are all responsible for everything in our lives,” Louise Hay.  This is a tough pill to swallow.  Louise Hay spoke these words in the context of relationship with the universe, trying to explain how the universe responds to energy in the form of the thoughts we give out.  She plainly and simply states that there is no judgement from the universe, it can only respond to what we give it—what we give, we get.  We’ve spoken often about the power of our thoughts so this is not a new concept.  But when it comes to being responsible, that suggests an intent in the form of selecting our thoughts.  If you’ve ever read Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love you know Richard from Texas states you have to select your thoughts like you select your clothes.  In all honesty I never thought it was that simple.  I never appreciated the milliseconds of pause before a thought comes out where we get to decide if we want it or not.  Granted, my mind moves at an alarming pace on multiple tracks at times, but I’m no exception, that pause is still there.  We choose our perception.

In the dirty depths of mind-work and developing self-esteem, there are some truths that I frankly HATE—or at a minimum struggle with.  Being responsible for everything in our lives is one of them if I’m fully honest.  I don’t like the implication that we work in a vacuum or that we are supposed to have super human powers and not react with emotion—as humans do. I also struggle with the idea of selecting thoughts (although this isn’t so visceral for me personally).  I like to make quick decisions and that means familiarizing myself quickly and making equally fast judgements.  That doesn’t give a lot of time for thought processing.  Truth be told, I know this hasn’t ALWAYS served me well, but I find value in keeping the momentum moving forward.  The other concept is that we choose everything we do.  This falls in the same vein of responsibility.  I struggle with this because it again suggests that vacuum.  I feel it oversimplifies human nature and our relationships with others.  While I fully support that we CAN’T control other people, I believe a relationship is an undertaking where people operate within agreed upon parameters.  Not to say they need to be robots (we are human after all) but that there should be an implied and understood knowing of how to work with each other.  Put simply, I’ve always felt we are allowed to react based on people’s actions before our thoughts.

I’m not saying those reactions are correct, not by any means.  I even acknowledge that taking a beat and really feeling out how we feel is more valuable than bursting out in anger.  But I still stand beside the fact that if someone says something, they mean it.  It’s a contract of sorts.  If someone knows better and still chooses to act a certain way, then a breach has occurred in my mind.  Holding someone accountable is a perfectly reasonable thing to me.  I didn’t choose their indiscretion—they did, I did NOT choose to bring that into my life.  That responsibility lies on them to make it better.  That isn’t to say we don’t have a say in the matter of forgiveness or how we move forward, but to suggest I chose someone else’s actions is unfair.  I CAN choose whether or not to continue with this person, that is true, and yes, that is where the responsibility lies.  But suggesting we came to that juncture out of thin air, that we are responsible for someone’s behavior towards us, or that we allow our boundaries to be crossed, is out of line.  We do NOT have that power.  Yes, once it happens we can decide if we continue to surround ourselves with that behavior, but when we are hurt, I’m not comfortable with the idea we choose to be hurt.

There is a middle ground.  While we don’t choose what people do to us, and we may be owed things in way of apology, we can learn to stand in our self worth and know we didn’t deserve it.  We can choose to firm up the boundary and remove ourselves.  We can choose to wait for what we need.  We can choose forgiveness and second chances.  We CAN embrace the pause and evaluate the feeling, what’s really going on underneath it all.  These are things in our control.  At the same time we are allowed to feel what we feel and if we are hurt, no one gets to tell you you’re not.  No one gets to say that you chose to be hurt when it comes to what others actually do to you.  Those are not supportive people.  While we ultimately do get to choose what happens, sometimes it’s nice to have someone acknowledge to the “offending party”, “Yeah, what you did to so and so was really shitty.” Instead of saying to the person whose hurt, “Well, you stayed, you chose this.”  Because it’s not that simple.  Sometimes the person stays because there was an understanding.  With that said, one thing we can all choose is kindness.  Don’t hurt people, and if you do, take responsibility because THAT responsibility goes both ways. 

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