06 Jul Taking Responsibility
Continuing our journey into the key characteristics of Conscious Relating, today let’s dive in and look at the idea of Taking Responsibility. If we want to consciously relate to another person or group of people, it requires us to take responsibility for everything that happens between the two of us (or the group of us). We need to recognize that how we show up in any situation has a direct influence on the response of the other person or people. Our emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and rules about how things “should be” all directly impact our experiences in life – with family, friends, communities, co-workers, employees…everyone.
Ask yourself, how am I contributing to this situation?
So let’s dive a little deeper. It often seems like life is happening “to us” or things are being done “to us.” Whenever we think or feel the words “to us” they are a direct indicator that we are taking on a victim role in the situation rather than a “responsible” role. When we take on the victim role we almost unconsciously begin to feel powerless. Yet, we are not powerless.
Are you choosing the victim role?
The truth is that there is an infinite wisdom inside us that knows exactly what needs to happen and when we stop resisting the circumstances and consider the idea that we might be playing a part in the results or circumstances that are arising, then we regain our power, our wisdom, and again we have choice.
A friend once told me a beautiful story of how he applied this concept in an interaction with his daughter when he wanted to influence her behavior. His daughter was upset with him and was outwardly expressing anger and frustration to him. As he listened, he remembered hearing someone say “what’s happening around you or to you, is a reflection of what’s happening within you. (I’ve also heard it said that what appears to be coming at you, is coming from you.”)
When he reflected on that message with regard to how his daughter was showing up, he realized he was feeling resistance to and frustration with her. He decided to shift into a space of love for her rather than frustration and then as the next angry words poured from her mouth, he responded with “I love you.” Still her words were angry, again he responded with “I love you.” Finally, after a couple of more exchanges, his daughter also naturally shifted into love. In less than an hour from the time he shifted his perspective – when he let come from him what he wanted to see – they were all interacting happily as a family again.
what appears to be coming at you, is coming from you
Another aspect of taking responsibility is to consider where you place your attention and focus. Have you ever noticed that whatever you focus on, you continue to see? Several years ago when the movie The Secret came out, we heard the message that what you focus on expands. Can you think of a day where something “went wrong” and then after that for the rest of the day everything seemed to go wrong? Or can you think of a day when something great happened and great things just kept happening? This happens because we see what we are looking for.
When was the last time you stopped and looked at all the wonderful things in your life? When did you last express your gratitude for those wonderful things?
Many years ago, Wayne Dyer wrote a book called I’ll See it When I Believe it. The message of that book was that if I don’t believe something will happen, it never will. Or, as we were discussing here, if I believe (or keep telling myself) “I’m having a bad day,” I will have a bad day – regardless of how many positive things happen that day too. I won’t notice those positive things because I am focusing on what’s not good.
Finally, another part of taking responsibility is acknowledging how our past may be contributing to the present. when we have faced challenges or painful emotions in the past, we will often form beliefs about how life will be in the future based on what’s happened in the past. In other cases, if something painful has happened in our lives, we will make a vow that we will be sure that NEVER happens again. These limiting vows and beliefs all contribute to how we experience situations right now… today. How we experience life is our responsibility even if it’s happening unconsciously or we don’t understand how we are contributing.
I invite you to take a look at all the ways you contribute to the situations that arise in your life. It is an invitation to stop blaming and see the role you play in each experience that arises in your life.