It is so often that I hear people say how it’s their mother’s fault, their teachers’, or their lover’s. Politicians are to blame, media, or society in general. It is never the individual who is responsible for their thoughts/emotions/actions. It is someone else. “How can I be responsible for being miserable? Have you seen what they’ve done?” Yup, I saw. And? The premise of outside influencing the inside and responding to stimuli as the only valid method of experiencing the world and building your character is an archaic and obsolete principle. Is it really that smart to be happy when something or someone does something that makes us happy, and is it logical to respond to negativity with more negativity and expect something to change?
Who exactly is thinking your thoughts and feeling your feelings? Someone else?
There are not too many ways we can ignore the world around us. If we accept the fact we are living in a society and want to be its contributing member, then it is expected of us that we interact with that society in one way or the other. In those interactions, there will always be situations that we prefer more than others and individuals whom we like better. However, this does not mean that we have to give up control over our thoughts/emotions/actions and put it in someone else’s hands. It is easy to do that – I know – but it’s not productive, and it definitely isn’t healthy.
Fault and responsibility are not the same
Probably every language in the world has problems with two words. One is fault, and the other is responsibility. They have completely different meanings and shockingly different vibrations, but people often confuse them. To be at fault brings emotions of shame, guilt, and expectation of some sort of punishment. To be responsible is liberating and empowering. It brings the emotions of control, satisfaction, and power. Try reading these two sentences and recognize how differently they make you feel:
- It’s my fault.
- I’m responsible for this.
Can you feel how different they are? It doesn’t matter if you are assigning them to the event of losing your job, getting overweight, or being late for a bus. Try to connect them to your certain emotional states too and see how their vibration is not the same.
The reality we live in is a reality of co-creation. This means that most (if not all) things in your life have been co-created by several people. It is very, very, very wrong to say how you are the only one responsible for something another person did to you. It’s even worse to say it’s your fault. Assigning blame to victims of rape, murder, robbery, slavery, or any kind of abuse is simply horrible. But hear me out for a second. You are not 100% responsible for what happened to you, but you are 100% responsible for how you deal with it. No one can think your thoughts or feel your emotions. They are yours. You control them. And yet, so many people have problems with taking the power back from their abusers. This is normal and expected, and it takes serious effort and some therapy. When we get hurt, it is hard to get up and heal, but it is possible.
So let’s put major abuse examples (rape, assault, robbery, etc.) aside and treat the victims with respect and kindness. Everyone heals in their own time and their own way. If you have been in one of those situations, know that you are not alone and that there are people who are willing to help. Choose that you will get better, and you will. It will take time and work, but the results will come. Everything starts with a decision. How does that old saying go?
You can think you can, and you can think you can’t. Either way, you’re right.
Focusing now on parts of our character, how we react to things, overall emotional state, and the satisfaction with how our life looks like, accepting responsibility is part of personal growth. Yes, you have been through this and that, but those this and that don’t have to define you. They will influence you. That is without a question, but the amount of that influence depends on you and you alone.
You are the one who chooses what amount of influence others have over you. The power is in your hands.
Why is it easy to refuse responsibility?
If your background is that in which you have been thought that someone else has the ultimate control over your life (whichever supernatural force or God you’ve been raised and thought is the one true way), then your brain has from a very early age accepted that whatever happens, it is some part of divine plan. You are not to question that plan, and you are not to doubt its infinite wisdom. To simplify, some force has made you the way you are and made things in your life go the way they go, be it the “bad” or the “good” force. Now, keep in mind that it is again up to you how you will deal with those teachings and in which capacity you will accept them as valuable.
Another thing to consider is the ultimate trust you’ve put into your parents when you were a child. They demanded obedience when you were growing up. This obedience is to some degree justifiable. If you did not listen and trust your parents, you would probably run into a busy street full of cars, ate only candy, never washed yourself, or jumped from a high building. Until some point in our lives, we need to blindly trust those who raise us and listen to their guidance because we are not capable to comprehend the world, the dangers in it, or our responsibilities. It is up to those who raise us to do it responsibly and with great care.
The third thing to think about are the social groups we were/are in. People are very suggestible at certain ages and heavily rely on acceptance of their peers. Kids will do almost anything to be liked by their friends when they hit puberty and adolescence, and those social groups will influence how they build their character.
Religion, parents, social groups. All of that has in one way or another told you how it is someone else who is in charge. Now it’s time to reexamine those beliefs and accept responsibility. You are no longer a child.
Think about this next premise. Your parents, your religious leaders, and your friends all told you what to do because they thought it is the right thing. They want what they think is the best, and they do care about you. It is up to you to recognize that people are not robots and have different opinions. It is also up to you to respect what you’ve been told, but choose whether you will follow it or not. If you never move away from what you’ve been told and never question the validity of certain constructs, it will always be easy to refuse responsibility for your own thoughts/emotions/actions. You will assign blame wherever you go and whatever you do. It will always be out of your hands to make any difference. Accept your past with loving kindness, be grateful for everything that you learned, and grow from it.
Metacognition behind personal growth
What I like most about my brain (and what you should consider loving about yours) is metacognition. It is an awareness of the thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them. Metacognition is thinking about thinking, and it includes a critical awareness of the amount of knowledge we have about something, why we have opinions we do, what is influencing us, willingness to question ourselves, finding ways to learn and grow, and recognizing the levels of effectiveness our choices have.
So in order to accept responsibility for your own thoughts/emotions/actions, you need to first be willing to stop the momentum of your thoughts and simply ask yourself: “Why am I thinking this?” Your thoughts should not be controlling you. It should be the other way around. You have the power to decide what you will concentrate on and think. Once you stop your certain train of thought, examine what has influenced you to think what you are thinking and try to determine the amount of knowledge you have about it. Gently move in the direction of self-realization and getting to know your own thought processes.
The behaviors of metacognition are selecting strategies, self-questioning, brainstorming, reflection, generating and testing different hypotheses, memory recall, monitoring comprehension, understanding a problem, setting goals, etc. The society we live in is dynamic and complex. If we want to be engaged in it and yet self-sufficient to some degree, we need to cherish and develop our ability of critical thinking. Being aware of our thought processes is a skill that will help us with that.
On your path of metacognition, there will be many things you will discover, not only about yourself but about others too. You will need to have in mind that people have different thought and speech patterns. Many of them will have trouble communicating their thoughts, on purpose or accidentally, and will maybe have good intentions but poor means of executing them. Be aware of logical fallacies folks often use when trying to convince you of something. You can read about them in my text Are you manipulating or being manipulated with bad arguments? 3 LOGICAL FALLACIES you need to know. The vast majority of humans have good intentions. Everything they do is because they think it is the right thing to do. It is up to you to recognize if what they’re doing is the right thing for you too.
You can’t expect there will be no emotions on your path. Again, you are not a robot. Feeling your feelings, no matter what kind they are, is very important. Do not ignore your emotions. Accept them and understand them. Learn from them. They are your best guides. False positivity is worse than negativity is a text I wrote about dealing with negative emotions that talks about accepting how you feel, dealing with it, and healthy ways to feel better. Check it out.
This text would not have been written if it hadn't been inspired by a fantastic poem I read by Aparna. You can read the poem here: My weird thoughts.
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.
In love and light,