The doorway to self-empowerment
And personal freedom.
When I speak of personal responsibility, I am not necessarily speaking of our physical responsibilities, and I am certainly not speaking of independence. Physical responsibilities like paying my bills, self-care, or any of the assumed responsibilities, are not the responsibilities that I am speaking of. And independence in and of itself can become a trap, a false sense of responsibility.
The trap of independence and the stance that says, “I do not need help. I’ve got this.” These offer a false sense of pride and excludes any connectivity to others. It also brings with it a sense of loneliness that can be difficult to identify. There is a power in connection that is denied when we strive for our independence. I am in no way saying that we do not need to be independent. I am just saying we should not be separated at the expense of allowing others to help and be a part of our lives. One of our most overlooked responsibilities is to our community. One of the most beneficial aspects of a Twelve Step program is that we become a part of something bigger than us. The most important part of this is ‘become a part of.’ Left to our own devices, we will isolate, and when we do so, the world can become a very frightening place to live.
The personal responsibility that I am genuinely speaking of is more so about our attitudes, or better put, the way we think. Our attitudes are always a result of the way we think. If we are keeping our thoughts/attitudes in check, our behavior and actions are automatically controlled. Our behavior is always a result of our attitude, and our attitude is always a result of the way we think.
Independence can also be a form of self-protection. Why would we not want to let someone help us that can? When someone does help, does it not make our lives a little easier. So, why would we shut people out? Insanely we decide to go ahead and be alone out of the fear of being left alone. We are afraid that people won’t hold up under pressure and we will be alone again. It seems the risk of losing is too high. It is not the norm to see that by not allowing others in, we have decided to abandon and or reject them, therefore doing what we are afraid of having done to us.
It isn’t easy to trust. That is a fact. Let’s face it; we have all been abandoned and rejected at some point. I believe true inner strength comes from feeling the fear of being let down and allowing someone in. Maybe we do end up disappointed. There might be an outside chance that someone will hold up. Here is the tricky part. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY FEARS! My fears are produced by how I think about a particular situation. If I am afraid that I will be left behind, it is my responsibility to change the way I think, SO I CAN HEAL, and perhaps help someone else heal.
A Course in Miracles says, “When I am healed, I am not healed alone.” Workbook pp. 269. It also says this in many other places in many different ways.
The strength of discovering that we are not alone and others are fighting the same fears gives us real power. If we can allow ourselves to think this way, it brings forth a true inner joy.
However, none of this happens if we don’t take charge of those deep inner whispers that continue to tell us, people can’t be trusted. Not trusting anyone makes for a very lonely and frightening world. Oddly enough, we must first challenge ourselves with the question, ‘How reliable, how trustworthy, am I? Can I be counted on?’ We can’t expect from others what we can’t give to others.
Suppose I can take responsibility for the lies that I allow to run rampant through my mind and begin to tell myself the truth. ‘People can be trusted, people do care, and I am one of those people.’
If we take an honest inventory of ourselves, we usually find that we are afraid of the very things we do and then hide them from ourselves. When we are terrified of abandonment; Do we ask ourselves how many times we’ve been the one to do the abandoning?
To sum it up! Taking personal responsibility for my thinking means being willing to look within every time I want to judge anyone and see where the same may hold true for me.
The people in our lives are but a reflection of ourselves.
Early in my journey of recovery, I asked a female mentor, “When will I know I am truly getting this stuff and not just selling myself another lie?” She smiled and said, “By the people that make up your life.”
I challenge you to take responsibility for your thinking and watch as you change your mind how it affects your daily life.