Wednesday, August 29, 2012

100% Responsibility = Freedom

I started listening to "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield yesterday. (The link will take you to the book. The audiobook is here.) Other than finding it interesting that my almost 12yo son and his 12yo cousin ended up sitting down at the table where I was stamping and listening to the audiobook--I think they were taken by what Jack had to say--there is a great deal to think about in the book. I almost feel like I have to listen to it again, chew around the ideas and digest to really have things sink in properly.

I made it through the first five principles, but my mind is still stuck on the first one:

Take 100% responsibility for your life.

This can seem shocking at first. 100% responsibility? "Surely this person and that thing and this event are part of the problem?" Jack really got into how we are responsible for so much: We don't speak up when it would be good to do so. We keep people in our lives we maybe shouldn't. We eat that cookie. ("But they're so yummy!" part of my brain screams out.)

I was really mulling this whole idea over early morning, thinking that it was a very heavy thing to do, to take full responsibility for our lives. I am responsible for the disorder in my house. I am responsible for my allergic reactions (to a certain degree--I am not responsible for the genes that created the allergies, but I am responsible for the foods I eat that cause me to be more reactive, I am responsible for keeping the cat--but that's okay, he's too wonderful to let go...). I am responsible for my finances. I am responsible for having had that messed up friendship. I am responsible for... Different things came to mind and I simply took responsibility in my mind for them.

And you know what? It was absolutely FREEING.

It seems contradictory, doesn't it? Responsibility tends to mean that we have to take care of more things. And in a way, I do: I have to take care to eat better, I have to take care to put the allergy stuff on the cat, I have to take care to figure out a budget and clean up the den... But the flip side of that coin is that it means I can do something about all of it. I'm not stuck. I'm not a victim. I have freedom from these outside things "doing" anything to me. All these things that weigh down my life are things I am responsible for allowing to be there and I can therefore choose to act differently. Not that I ever thought heavily about it all, other than a vague acknowledgement of certain things. I know the basement's a mess, for example, but it's easily ignored. *grin* Taking 100% responsibility for its current state, not blaming the kids (after all, who let the kids?), knowing I can do something about it, is freeing. Yes, I've got some work ahead of me to fix all the little things I don't like that I have allowed, but that's okay. I feel freer. :)

How about you? What is your reaction to the idea of taking 100% responsibility for your life?

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