Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Responsibility and Freedom

Sometimes I wanted power to be taken from me.  Sometimes I gave it up for a false sense of security.  Being completely responsible for my life is a daunting task. To have someone else to blame for my mistakes, misfortunes and missed opportunities, well that's just plain emotionally convenient, or at least I used to think so.  However, to be completely free, I can't blame others for my choices.  Even upon fear of personal safety, I have choices. They may not be easy, but they are there.  I am completely responsible for my actions and for how I deal (or don't deal) with the consequences of those actions.  I have lost people in my life stemming from these actions, but I was aware I might and made the conscious choice to follow through on the actions anyways.  I try not to do anything that I can't own up to in the future, anything that I would be ashamed to share with the public.  However, if I do, I own it and I own the consequences of it.  I try to live by the standard: if I wouldn't want people to know I'm doing this, should I be doing it?  Generally if I feel shameful around an action, it's because deep down inside I know it is a bad idea.  When I own that action/choice and the consequences of it rather than blaming my emotions and other people, I can forgive myself, learn my lesson and move on.  However self forgiveness takes self-love, self worth and the ability to step out of the victim role.
Every step I take on the path to my goals (even if that step is backwards) I remind myself that this is something I choose to do.  Suddenly, my life feels in control, not because I have power over it per se, but because I have power over my choices, and how I choose to respond to the consequences.  I don't fight the consequences.  There's no point.  The only thing I can change is within myself.  I try to be gentle:
"Ooooh yeah... I remember that little voice in the back of my head at the time saying, hey, this is probably not a great idea...and I was all like, 'fuck you conscience.  I'm drunk/disenchanted/hurting and I want instant gratification and escape.' And now I'm paying for it.  Well that wasn't worth the consequences... Now I know better.  Is this something I can fix?  Or do I just need to wait for it to
blow over?  Why did I engage in such unhealthy/hurtful/irresponsible behaviour? Is there something deeper here I have to look at within myself?"

Taking responsibility isn't just about abstaining from behaviour with unwanted consequences, it's about being able to go for what makes us happy.  I am responsible for my own happiness. For example, if I'm unhappy with my employment, if I choose not to look for a job I am going to enjoy, that's my responsibility, not something I get to blame on my current employer for not meeting my standards of happiness.  If I want to accomplish something, it's up to me to do it and I am the only person who could stand in my way.  When I own my life choices, everyone else loses their power to control them.  No amount of outside emotional manipulation will get me to choose something other than what I know is right for me.  That is a freedom that not everyone gets to feel in their lifetime, but it is amazing.