You are responsible for you
The spectrum of taking responsibility
We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of taking responsibility for ourselves. There may be some areas of our life where we take responsibility and other areas where we don’t. For example we might be really good at taking congruent action in regards to what we eat and our exercise routine, but we may not take responsibility for how we feel on a day to day basis. We may perceive that the way that we feel is dependent on certain external circumstances (like how our body feels or how our partner talked to us this morning) and therefore the way we feel is dependent on those things and not really up to us.
The truth is that we are 100% solely responsible for ourselves. We are responsible not only for our actions, but also our lack of actions, and for how we feel and even the thoughts we have. I know many of you get this conceptually. You are probably like “of course, duh”, but this is tricker than it seems on the surface. Ask yourself how many times you do something in order to feel good rather than just choosing to feel good? How many times do you allow situations, circumstances and other people’s mood (positive or negative) to impact how you feel either positively or negatively? Probably a lot. Get this when we operate in this manner we are always victim to circumstance, meaning we are not in our power. We are not the one choosing. We are allowing circumstance to choose for us. This is called disempowerment.
One of the tricker things to see here is that it doesn’t matter whether its a positive or negative state that we allow to decide for us how we feel. If we get ecstatic because our kid made the honor roll, we will feel bummed when they lose that status. If we get happy because we just found the perfect partner to be with, we will feel sad when we lose them. In these scenarios the way we feel is dependent on circumstances and situations turning out a certain way and has nothing to do with you choosing how you want to feel.
Expecting others to take responsibility for us
Our feelings outside of us
As long as we don’t take responsibility for ourselves we will be looking to others or something outside of us to be responsible for us. This can look a couple of different ways. One way is by blaming someone (overtly or covertly) for not making us feel the way we want to feel or subtly expecting people to do certain things for us so that we feel a certain way.
For example say that every day your partner kisses you before they leave the house and its makes you feel good. Say one day they don’t do it. They leave without the kiss. You feel slightly off. The next day the same thing happens. You feel a little worse. The third day it happens again and now you are down right worried and even a little pissed. You had an expectation of them to make you feel a certain way by an action that they previously did. Now that lack of particular action has you feeling mad, worried or angry. The problem is not the way that you feel, instead it is that you are covertly blaming their action/lack of action for the way you feel instead of realizing that you are choosing this particular set of feelings. What is it like to say to yourself “I’m choosing to be mad, worried and angry”. Remove it from the situation and simply realize this is what you are choosing to feel in this particular moment. Now you are taking responsibility for how you feel.
Another way this can look is a similar scenario but instead of it being another person, maybe its your job, or the weather, or your health. You can substitute a million scenarios such as “I feel bad because my back hurts” or “I feel bad because its raining out” or “I feel bad because I don’t know my life purpose”, etc. You are giving your feelings away to external circumstance instead of realizing that you are choosing those particular feelings. Again its not bad or wrong to feel bad if its raining, or to feel bad if your back hurts, or to feel bad if you don’t know your life purpose, but simply realizing that the “thing” is not the cause of the way you feel, but instead you are the cause of the way you feel.
One last way this can manifest is when we can’t come up with a “reason” for why we feel a certain way. We often look for a reason or something to pinpoint or blame for why we feel a certain way. In fact this is why so many people try to label, diagnosis and figure out their “problems” (problems being sensations or feelings we don’t want) based on some external causes or reason. Somehow it seems to “make us feel better” if we have a reason why, but the truth is we are always the reason why. The way that we feel does not lie outside of ourselves. It lies within us. The sooner we get this, the more quickly we will move into our true power, which is our ability to see just how powerful we are in that we are truly the creators of our lives, including the way we choose to feel in any given moment. This is also one of the first steps in living a truly integrated spiritual life. Without this fundamental step we will never own and realize ourselves to be the God and Goddess that we are.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado