“ We shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
In the past, though I was aware and fully acknowledged that each one of us have some say as to how the course of our lives unravelled, I was somehow in deep denial that the way my life had turned out was ALL my own doing. While I was more than happy to receive the accolades for all that I’ve done right, I refused to take ownership of the mistakes, blunders, and adversities that came my way. In my mind, it was anyone’s and anything’s fault but mine – that I was never to blame for anything bad that happened in my life. After all, who in the right mind would sabotage their own joy and happiness by purposely making decisions that would harm themselves? The thought that I was responsible for everything that had gone awry in my life was too obscenely painful to even fathom.
Not surprisingly, by deflecting the blame on anything on others or external circumstances that I have no control of, I found that similar unfortunate predicaments and the same old issues seem to reappear time and time again. As the great Albert Einstein said “Insanity is defined as doing something over and over again, the same exact way, and expecting a different result“. Based on this definition, there was no doubt that I was insane. In hindsight, it was extremely silly of me to think that things would go any differently without my own willingness to change. Fortunately, as the years go by and I became a tad wiser, it finally dawned on me that if I were to expect a different outcome, one that is more favorable, I would need to do things differently. As I became open to change, it became evident to me that I was the common denominator in all of the unpleasant situations that I faced. It also became clear to me that the more that I insists on deflecting responsibility and placing blame on others and/or external circumstances, I perpetuated a vicious cycle of unfavorable situations.
This life changing transition happened somewhere in my mid 20’s, a time in my life that I ferociously read through personal development books as it were my day job. It was then I came across Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles“. Though all of the principles he delved into were important, one principle stood out to me the most and that is “Take 100% responsibility for your life“.
We all have blamed at least someone and or a circumstance as to how our lives have unravelled short of our expectations. We blame our parents for not letting us pursue our dreams, our boss for not giving us that promotion, the list goes on and on. In reality, all of the stories we’ve told ourselves of why others or circumstances are to blame for how we’ve ended up living a less than stellar life are merely elaborate excuses because no one other than ourselves is responsible for how our lives turned out.
While I am in no way dismissing our past pains and tribulations, we can not expect to change for the better and move towards our best selves dwelling on the past and blaming others for treating us wrong. As an adult, all the blame we have put on our parents, teachers etc. when we were children are no longer valid. If you desire a better way of living and to create a better life, accept that the blame game we’ve been playing has an expiration date.
In order to create our best life, we must start to let go of our stories as to why we should be seen as a victim – as if we have no power over our own lives because the truth is that we are the creator of our lives. However painful it may seem at first to admit that we are responsible for all the good and most importantly, the bad that has happened in the past, know that it could just be the very thing that will finally set us free. Decide to courageously accept the ownership of your own lives because only then can we truly learn and make better decisions moving forward.
Start by forgiving yourself for mistakes of the past and stop dwelling on them. The past is the past and you were only doing what you thought was best for you at the time. Set yourself free from the stories you tell yourself to justify why you have not been able to create or to live your best life once and for all. You are indeed the creator of your own life and you have it within you to create a great life that you have always imagined. As Maya Angelou wisely said “When we know better, we do better“.