Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a lot of people in my life blaming other people or conditions for their current situation in life. As I noticed that they were not taking responsibililty for their actions and circumstances, I began to wonder where in my life am I not taking responsibility for my actions? Because if I am noticing it in others, they are just being the mirror reflecting me back to me.
Personal responsibility is one of those life lessons that seems to come up regularly for me. I began observing myself, my actions, my words and my thoughts, more closely. I noticed that I would choose to sleep a bit later rather than get up and do yoga, saying I was too tired, but not taking responsibility for staying up late the night before. I made excuses about not having enough time to complete a project, but didn’t take responsibility for allowing my children to continue playing on my computer when I had work to do.
I made a commitment to myself to start taking responsibility for EVERYTHING in my life. It’s a pretty big commitment! I feel really good about it…most of the time anyway. One morning challenged me on my commitment very directly. I wanted to sleep in, and decided that I needed to help get the boys up and ready for school. So I got up, and got the boys up, spending a long slow time snuggling with them in my big rocking chair. I was making their lunches when my husband came out of his office and said, “I have a conference call at 8:30 this morning. I can’t drive the boys to school. I guess you didn’t hear me when I told you last night when I came to bed.”
No, I hadn’t consciously heard him. And I only had twenty minutes to get the boys fed and ready to go out the door, and get myself dressed as well. I went into a bit of an internal tantrum. This meant that I wouldn’t get my regular journal and meditation time. And I would hve to shower after I got back from the school run. Why hadn’t he told me again earlier, like when I first got up, or when the alarm went off? I got caught up in my story of how horrible this was, and how little time I had.
To be honest, it took me quite a while to get myself out of my funk. I could observe myself in it, and I knew it didn’t feel good. I wanted to blame someone else, because surely it wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know. And I remembered my commitment to take responsibility. So I had to take responsibility for spending the extra 15 minutes in bed, and for not getting in the shower right away when I first woke up. And then I forgave myself for choosing as I had.
Taking responsibility is not always easy. It can be hard to admit that I made a mistake. Yet it can also be extremely liberating. My happiness does not depend on anyone else’s actions. I can’t control them anyway, but I can control how I react.
I’m still working on this. For example, I am still struggling with taking responsibility for the chaos of our current bedtime routine. And just yesterday morning I realized that while I may have no control over my son’s actions, I do have some control over the environment, and complete control over my reactions. I’ll keep you posted on how that is going.
Where are you taking responsibility in your life? Or not? Leave a comment below, and let’s see if we can shift our perspectives together!