If you haven’t seen the Spiderman movie, you may not recognise the quote:
With great power comes great responsibility
It’s true, I’ll admit. But nobody ever talks about the reverse side of it – that taking responsibility GIVES you power too…
One of the things that annoys me most is when people insist on playing the blame game. No matter what it is that’s happened, it’s someone else’s fault and they’ve got a finger ready to point if you ever ask “why”. In fact, a lot of them don’t wait for you to ask, before they start pointing it.
I don’t know or understand the reasoning (maybe someone can enlighten me?) but it seems to me that this is a very dis-empowering thing to do.
- If you don’t have control or ownership over your own actions, then it’s not within your ability to change them – or to change your results.
- If the things that happen to you are because of circumstances outside yourself, then you’re a victim of life, with no option but to suffer what life throws your way.
- If you refuse to admit you have any control of your own life, then you either drift aimlessly through it, or someone else takes up the reins for you – and it’s a pretty sure bet they won’t be putting your interests and well-being above their own. (It’s called ‘emotional slavery’ and if you’ve ever seen it happen, you’ve seen the first cousin of cult brainwashing at work.)
- Your dreams will remain just that; dreams. If you never take action towards them, how can they ever happen?
On the other hand, if you DO take responsibility for your life – no matter how hard it is initially – things become easier.
- You can use feedback when things don’t go the way you want them to, and put things in place so it doesn’t happen again
- You can set and follow your own direction towards your own dreams
- You can choose how you react to external circumstances, so you follow the path that’s best for you.
- You may appear to be under the control of someone else (like if you work in a dayjob), but you know that in the end, you’ve chosen to be there, and you always keep the final choice to fire them and leave. No one can EVER force you to stay against your will. Sure there may be consequences if you go, but you know that and weigh it up as part of your decision.
I’ve had many people say “but what about victims of famine, disease, rape etc – are they responsible for their situation?”
There’s two sides to my response. Firstly, whether you think you’re responsible for the situation you find yourself in or not, you should at the very least admit that you ARE responsible for yourself. You choose how to react. You choose what to make of it – including the emotional overtones you give it that can either blow the situation up into a full scale soapie drama, or neutralise it down into “no big deal”. You can also say “well, there’s gotta be some good I can pull out of this.
I’ve seen cancer victims who have used the disease to spread the message to enjoy and appreciate life, and who always wear a smile.
I’ve seen rape victims who’ve turned their situation into a wake up call to empower themselves and work tirelessly for victim rights.
I’ve seen homeless people who take their situation and turn it into the motivation to achieve huge success. Just think of how many people you’ve seen on Oprah who’ve once lived on the streets, in a car, or in a trailer.
For that matter, even the footage of starving kids overseas often shows them smiling and playing.
I’ve been through some of these situations myself, and I can say first-hand – it’s only once you decide to take ownership of your response to them, that you have any hope of healing your heart and moving forward. Making the additional step of looking for the good is an incredibly empowering experience, and in my case at least, a path to finding happiness you can keep regardless of what happens to you.
The second part of my response? Well, personally I believe that my current circumstances are the result of my thoughts, actions and choices, and so I have responsibility for my situation too. That gives me the power to change the direction my life goes at any time. Yes, I even accept responsibility for the lousy things that have happened to me – because that way I know I can learn from them and they never need happen again. But that’s just me.
What do you believe?