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A FEW MORE LESSONS ABOUT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR LIFE EXPERIENCES
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan offered a list of seven lessons that we all need to learn in order to take responsibility for our own life experiences. In last month's article, we discussed the first three lessons.

First, avoid casting blame on anyone or anything for our lives, as nothing or no one outside yourself can control your thinking or actions. Second, avoid blaming yourself, as you are doing the best you can on your way to reclaiming your power. Finally, be aware of those circumstances in which you play the victim, identifying clues that prevent you from taking responsibility for your life.

The next four lessons build from what we've learned in the first three:

Fourth lesson: Silence the Negativity of Your Chatterbox.
Have you ever noticed the little voice in our heads? For most of us, the Chatterbox, as Susan called it, goes on at length with a constant barrage of negative thoughts. It is often the voice of distress, negativity and loss. But it doesn't have to be that way. You must learn to harness your inner Chatterbox.

Notice that your Chatterbox is making you a victim, and commit yourself to replacing it with a loving voice. You don't have to hang out with enemies, even if they are within yourself.

Susan devoted whole chapters to dealing with our inner-Chatterboxes. By ''out-talking'' our Chatterbox with constant repetitions of possible thoughts, such as,''I am a powerful and loving person, or I relax and let go,'' we replace the negativity with a strong and loving voice. This will change the way we think and control our inner voice.

Fifth lesson: Be Aware of Payoffs that Keep You ''Stuck''.
Is there a part of your life where you feel stuck? Maybe it's a bad job or an uncomfortable friendship or an unhealthy family situation. You probably need to identify the “payoffs” of that circumstance – the rewards we receive by not changing what we don't like about our lives. For example, staying in an unhappy marriage might allow you a sense of security. Staying in a job that offers no advancement or satisfaction might be comfortable, easy or secure.

Payoffs explain why we choose to perpetuate what we don't want in our lives. Once you understand payoffs, your behavior will make much more sense to you.

You need awareness of payoffs to turn your life around. By understanding them, you are able to take responsibility for your life. You can make other choices which enable you to be a loving, powerful person.

Sixth lesson: Figure Out What You Want in Life and Act on It.
Most of the time we probably feel like life is driving us rather than the other way around. We feel a loss of control over our careers, our daily lives, or even our dreams.

Most of us do not ''sculpt'' our lives. We accept what comes our way . . . then we gripe about it. Many of us spend our lives waiting - waiting for the perfect mate, waiting for the perfect job, waiting for the perfect friends to come along. There is no need to wait for anyone to give you anything in your life. You have the power to create what you need. Given commitment, clear goals, and action, it's just a matter of time.

Taking responsibility means going after the things we want by creating our lives and not waiting for things to come to us.

Seventh lesson: Be Aware of the Multitude of Choices You have in any Given Situation.
Similar to lesson Six, this lesson also starts where many of us usually feel - out of control - but in this case it hits us emotionally. Susan wrote about this point a lot - you get to choose your own reaction to any situation that arises. Unfortunately, most of us don't remember that while we are in the moment. When we do, we are taking responsibility for that part of our life experience. We are taking control of our own attitude.

As you go through each day, it is important to realize that at every moment you are choosing the way you feel. When a difficult situation comes into your life, it is possible to tune in to your mind and say, ''Okay, choose. Are you going to make yourself miserable or content? The choice is definitely yours.''

SEVEN WAYS TO A HAPPIER YOU:
Susan was clear that making these seven lessons a part of your daily life is not an easy task, but it can lead to the life you want to live. As Susan wrote:

Fully taking responsibility for your experience of life is a long process that requires much practice. The point is simply to begin. You will start to feel better immediately. You will feel noticeably more powerful and in control of your life.

Copyright © 2016 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.

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