In my book, 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment, I discuss that in most situations we generally have these three good choices. I also discuss how there are poor choices that we might make instead of good choices.
Poor choices are ineffective behaviors, ineffective coping strategies. They hinder us, they do not help us.
Examples of poor choices include, but are not limited to, apathy, choosing to do nothing, complaining, denial, excessive worrying, giving up, holding a grudge, not taking responsibility, passive-aggressive behavior, and self-destructive behaviors such as drinking and drug abuse.
The one that speaks to me the most is not taking responsibility. I am an extremely responsible person. I understand deeply how taking responsibility gives us power and control over our lives. It can be painful and humbling to take responsibility for our mistakes, for our sometimes messed up lives. But when we accept that we are where we are because of the choices we have made, the actions we have taken, when we take responsibility for those choices and actions, then we also accept that we have power and control. We got ourselves to wherever we are, so we can get ourselves out.
When we do not take responsibility, we are trying to make someone else responsible for what we have done. First, no one else is responsible. Second, we are giving away our power and control over our own lives. If we give away our power and control, how are we going to change anything? How are we going to change our self?
When we blame others for our choices, decisions, and actions, we are refusing to take responsibility. We are trying to make them responsible, and they are not. Not only are we giving away our power and control, we are also giving up the opportunity to learn about our self. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to keep repeating them. To learn from our mistakes, we first must take responsibility that they are ours.
Taking responsibility for our self also means taking responsibility for our thoughts and beliefs. If we have self-limiting thoughts and beliefs about our self, we will not be able to grow. It is our responsibility to determine why we have these thoughts and beliefs and decide what we are going to do about them.
If you have not taken responsibility for your life, or portions of your life, I encourage you to do so. It might be the most important decision you will ever make. Stop blaming others and take control.