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A FEW LESSONS ABOUT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
In last month's newsletter we talked about gaining wisdom through taking responsibility for our own experiences in life. Susan wrote, ''So many of us think we are taking responsibility, but I am convinced that most of us don’t understand what that means.''
How do we do it? How do we learn to be responsible for our life experiences? In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan offered seven components of a more powerful way of living. By learning these lessons, we can understand what taking responsibility means, and be well on our way to embracing all of our life experiences - whether negative, commonplace or wonderful - with power and control. Here, we'll discuss the first three lessons (the remaining four will be in next month’s article).
First lesson: Do not blame anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling.
When you blame another person for your own circumstances, actions or reactions, you are giving away your power - your power to move forward, your power to change things, your power to control your own life. You are letting yourself be a victim of others. Why in the world would any of us willingly do that? Yet how often do we do it all the time? Susan is clear:
Until you fully understand that you, and no one else,
Create what goes on in your head,
You will never be in control of your life.
Never? You might say. But my husband...my wife...my kids...my boss... We all make excuses in order to avoid taking responsibility. Can you identify with any of this: you are in a job that you hate, you are single and want to be married, or you are married and want to be single, your kids are stressing you out or prevent you from moving ahead in your career, you are depressed or get ill, or are simply tired of your life…the list goes on and on? It’s so much easier to blame everyone or everything else but yourself so you make other people responsible for your feelings. This will leave you in a position of pain and fear. But feeling our pain can be good, as it pinpoints the areas in which you may have to work to control your life. And, when you own up to your own thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions, you will be in a position of power over your experience of life.
Third lesson: Be aware of where and when you are NOT taking responsibility so that you can eventually change.
There is only one person in the world that can make us happy and that is ourselves. It's funny how we all know this to be true, but still spend so much time expecting others to do it for us. That is why this third lesson is so critical. It is important to look at all the areas in your life to determine where you are not taking responsibility. Susan writes that your clues will be any signs of anger, upset, blaming, pain, joylessness, self-pity, envy, impatience or disappointment. Susan’s advice is clear:
Whenever you find yourself feeling any of these emotions,
Determine what you are not doing in your life
That is causing the telltale sign.
You will be surprised how easy it is
To locate where you are abdicating responsibility.
We need to be aware and notice these signs of irresponsibility and to take action in order to take responsibility for our own feelings and our own happiness. Susan suggests that whenever you feel these symptoms, you must determine what you are not doing that is causing you to feel that way. It's hard to take responsibility, make corrections in the way we think or act, and create our own happiness, but only this leads to the happiness and self-fulfillment we all seek and deserve.
To be continued next month ...
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