“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” Elizabeth Gilbert
In my early twenties, I had an intense anger issue, which was highlighted while dating my now ex-boyfriend. As much as I loved him, I felt like he was my kryptonite.
We were always arguing and fighting with each other. I couldn’t understand why he would want to push my buttons the way he did, which by the way, didn’t need much pushing.
Honestly, I felt out of control and somewhat helpless.
My ex-boyfriend was only half of the problem. I was also triggered by traffic, a ‘bad’ drive, my mother, clients, you name it. Sometimes, I felt like it was everyone’s purpose to flip me off.
Eventually, I got tired of it, especially tired of not being able to help myself.
As eloquently stated by Elizabeth Gilbert, I got tired of my crap and desperately sought a change. I was miserable and not a nice person to be around.
This forced me to look at things differently. I started seeing a pattern or common thread in all my angry encounters. The common thread being me.
The truth is, I was the common denominator, and no one or anything was making me angry, I was doing that job all by myself.
I was so caught up in blaming others for the state of my life, when the reality was, no one had the power to make me do or be anything I was not choosing myself.
After several years of being emotionally and sometimes physically sick, losing valuable relationships and making several, irrational, painful decisions, this eureka moment was my turning point,
Overtime, I stopped seeing and blaming others for how I felt or acted. Instead, I chose to be radically responsible for my life. I felt as if I had a new lease on life. I was no longer giving my power to others; my mood and state were no longer dictated by what was happening around me.
In my observation, the reason we choose to blame others or situations for how we feel and experience life, is founded in a misconstrued causation.
Think about it, prior to the ‘negative’ situation, we would have been in a pleasant state. However, when the situation occurred, our state would have changed, thereby, leading us to associate how we feel in that moment, with the person or situation. Consequently, we then see the person or situation as the cause of our undesired state.
I believe that this misconstrued causation, is at the heart of why we choose to deal with life’s inevitable curve balls, in the less than desirable way that we do.
However, by deciding to take control of our lives and step into our power, we simultaneously change this unproductive pattern.
I’m sure you will agree, life is extremely dynamic and fluid, consisting of several moving parts, many of which are out of our control. While we may not have full control over how most of life happens, the one thing we have 100% control over is, how we experience it.
This is what radical responsibility means, taking charge of your life by taking command of how you experience any life event, thereby, regaining your personal sovereignty.
I believe I can speak for everyone, when I say, that, we all desire a state of happiness and joy; no one consciously chooses to be miserable and unhappy. However, for a vast majority, we often find ourselves in the latter state.
Imagine this, someone else, other than you, can make you feel badly or have magical powers to instigate negative emotions in you. Sounds crazy right? Yes, I agree, extremely crazy.
The reality is, this is what we subject ourselves to every day, in our relationships, social interactions, on our jobs, while driving, when we watch the news, etc. We allow our inner world to be constantly bombarded and dictated by the happenings of the external world, leading to a yo-yo of emotions and feelings.
While this may be the norm for most people, it does not have to be your norm. You can take control of how you experience life by being radically responsible.
1. Recognise that situations are neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so-All situations are neutral. How we choose to view them determines how good or bad our experiences are. Our power lies in our ability to ascribe positive meaning to situations, that will align with our desire to maintain a pleasant state.
2. Stop taking things personally- Acknowledging the fact that people are entitled to make choices that they believe are best for them, which isn’t a reflection of us but a reflection of them.
3. Focus on what you want to expand- What you focus on expands. If you give your attention and energy to a negative perception, you will only get more negativity. However, if you choose to focus on the positive, you will inevitably experience more positivity.
4. Adjust your expectations- According to Yogi, Sadhguru,” Life will never happen 100% the way you want it.” This is not just an idea; it is a fact. In the instances when your reality does not align with your expectation, instead of battling with reality, an easy and more effective approach is to adjust your expectation. This will help you to be more open to possibilities you may not have previously considered.
5. Apply acceptance- Acceptance is the key to freedom. Accepting people and situations for who they are and what they are, instead of believing that they should be different, will help you maintain your peace of mind and pleasant state of being.
6. Maintain your personal boundaries- You are 100% responsible for enforcing your personal boundaries. Stand firm in your power to choose what you allow or don’t allow. Your inner world is your domain. No one besides you has the power to affect your inner state, unless you allow them to. What you allow, you allow. What you disallow, you disallow.
Taking radical responsibility for your life, takes you from being a passive, backseat passenger and puts you in the driver’s seat, where you are in command of how you experience life.
Always remember that you are the creator of your life, how much influence and authority you give to others, over your life is and will always be in your control.