In the long run, 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
I hear people complaining all the time about how something is someone else’s fault. They blame their unhappiness on other people, their poverty on the economy, their situation on circumstances.
I didn’t get a pay raise because my manager is threatened by me.
I failed the exam because the questions were too hard.
I am unhappy because my husband cheated on me, and left me.
I can’t be optimistic because I have cancer.
I am depressed because I had a traumatic childhood.
Does any of above sound familiar? If not those exact things, you have said something similar at some point, or you know people who do. I deliberately picked a whole range of complaints, and some of them quite serious.
After all, if someone has cancer, we feel sorry for them, we wish them well, we understand if they are angry and pessimistic. But this is not about how feel.
What if you are the one who has cancer? You didn’t choose to have that illness, and maybe there is not much that can be done about it. But you CAN CHOOSE how you are going to live the time you have.
I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not saying you will feel like smiling while you are going to painful chemo. But I also know there are people who continue to bounce back. They have bad days, painful days, depressing days, but then they get back to living their purpose. I’m constantly inspired by these people. They do not let their illness define them.
That was an extreme example.
What about the person who blames their boss for not getting a raise? You may well have a terrible boss. Does that mean you should let him put your career on hold? Or maybe you can take on projects that have high visibility, show your boss’ boss and the other managers what you can do. Promote yourself – first by doing great work, and then making sure people know about it. This is not about blowing your own horn for the sake of it. It’s about taking responsibility for your success.
I am not trying to belittle your problems or your circumstances. Some of those may well be outside your control. But how you respond to them is within your control.
You are responsible for your life. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your boss. Not God. You.
Examples of great courage are all around you. People who keep going despite all odds. People who are no more special than you are. If they can do great things, why not you?
And that’s the ultimate truth of freedom.
Once you accept the truth that you alone are completely responsible for your life – regardless of whose fault it is that you are where you are – you are in a position to decide what you want your life to be, and take steps to achieve it.
What do you think? Do you think you are the one ultimately responsible for how your life turns out?
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Journal about where you are passing on responsibility for parts of your life to someone else, by either blaming things on others or waiting for others to fix things. What are you going to do about it?