Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? “Sorry I’m late, the traffic was terrible!” “I overslept because my alarm didn’t go off,” “The dog ate my homework,” “I finished the report but my computer crashed and it was lost,” and the list keeps going. On the surface, these seem like harmless statements that contain the truth. Let’s look a little deeper.
If each of the above statements is true, then what does that suggest about your place in your own life? If the traffic, your alarm, your dog, and your computer are to blame, where does that leave you? Instead of placing the blame on things external to you, try re-thinking what’s really going on. Put yourself in control of what “happens” to you. Here’s what the above statements might look like if you tweak who/what you put in control:
~ Sorry I’m late. The traffic was terrible and I didn’t check the traffic report before I left the house.
~ I overslept because my primary alarm didn’t go off and I don’t have a back up.
~ I left my homework where my dog could get it and he chewed it up.
~ I finished the report but did not save as I wrote so when my computer crashed the report was lost.
See the difference? In the first scenario you are a victim, you are out of control of your own life, and things happen to you that make you a victim. In the second situation you are in control, you can make a difference, and you can be sure to be more careful next time. By assuming responsibility you put yourself in the driver’s seat. When you take responsibility for your choices and for what happens in your life, you are no longer a victim and you are now in a position to make things better.
Placing the blame, the fault, or the cause of whatever happens in your life leaves you helpless to make a difference. If circumstances happen to you there is little you can do to help yourself. On-the-other-hand, if you take personal responsibility for what comes in your life, you can now create the life you want. Leo Buscaglia said, “You make the decision, you take your paintbrush, you choose your colors, you paint your paradise, and then you live in it. Or paint hell if you want to, but don’t blame me for it.” It’s all you.
Decide today to practice the following mantra: “I am 100% responsible for everything that happens in my life.” Yes, there are “acts of God” such as disease that might be out of your immediate control. Even in those situations rather than worrying about where to place the blame take the bull by the horns and say, “Okay. What can I do right now to make this better or to work through it?”
Assuming responsibility does not mean blaming yourself or letting others off the hook. It means that you are aware of your place in your life, in the lives of others, and in the universe. It means that your first reaction should always be to consider your own responsibility for what happens in your life.
When all is said and done accept that your choices belong to you. Accept that your life is your own. Accept that it is up to you to decide to do better, to make better choices, and to get yourself on the path you choose.