Over the years, my approach to human development has moved, along with my personal walk, down a path clearly called “Personal Self Responsibility.” I’ve jokingly said that I am the president of “The Cult of Self Responsibility.” I take this very seriously, in a non-serious way.
Ours is a culture based upon blame. We have learned that blaming is the first thing that has to be let go of, if you want to begin living in a more balanced, centered and alive way.
Following are 7 Confused Ideas, followed by 7 Pillars of Wisdom. These foundational understandings form the underpinnings of the life we live and the approach we take.
Rule 1: Confused People Think the World Has Done Them Wrong
This is the “country and western song” view of the world. Confused people assume that the rest of the world has nothing better to do but plot to torment them.
The Phoenix Perspective:
nobody has us in mind all the time. Except ourselves.
Most people haven’t grown up. They vaguely remember what it was like to be a kid, when everyone loomed large and when adults punished them when they were bad.
Back then, we all thought that the big people, and especially mom and dad, knew everything. And they were pretty good at telling us “What was best for us.” We learned to look outside of ourselves for justification, for permission, for happiness and for the source of our problems. Negatives seem to need a source, and, because we are reluctant to take responsibility for our lives and where we are and what’s happening to us, we blame others.
People have better things to do than to dream up ways to torment us. And even if it was true — that someone was out to make us miserable, we still have choice. We can choose our response. That’s what the word “responsible” means — able to respond.
The first lesson is: there is no one to blame for anything. Even as we make bad choices, (and we all do!) there is no point feeling guilty and blaming yourself (or your parents, your heritage, or thinking “the debil made me do it!”) Far better to examine the process of what happened and look for better ways of handling similar situations.
If you don’t get this, you are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Why? Because you haven’t learned to recognize them and to deal with them in a way that is of benefit.
To continually think that someone outside of yourself is “to blame” for where you find yourself is to remain forever a child. Anyone can lead a relatively happy life when nothing is going wrong. The person who has mastered herself is the person who can deal with difficulties as issues to be understood, challenged and corrected, all without blame, anger, recriminations.
Your first exercise: Talk to a friend or partner and ask them to list things you do that cause you difficulties in your relationships. Take note.
Do not comment or defend yourself. Just listen.