Friday, November 30, 2007

Personal Responsibility

A story about three friends
(based off of a real story with altered names and places)

Altera by the Lake was bustling with the lunch crowd. The clattering of dishes and warm aromas filled the room. I sat down with my two dear friends, Kim and Christine.

The coffee felt rich going down my throat. I was thankful for putting in that extra creamer.

We had just come from our Yoga class, and Kim was still thinking about it.

"I really don't like the partner poses. I mean my partner was fine and all, but it's really hard for me to do that kind of stuff."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"It brings back too many bad memories of when I was a kid. Every time in gym class that we had to be picked for teams, I was always the last one chosen. It really hurt. So in Yoga when we have to partner up, I feel nauseous inside and fear that no one will pick me."

I was dumbfounded. Kim was a grown woman and well liked by the people in the class. We had partnered up a number of times and she was always with someone.

Christine chimed in, "Yeah, I know what you mean. At work, my boss is so overbearing and no one really likes me there. I get into arguments all the time and have been told that I'm 'difficult to work with.' It's not my fault. I'm an only child and my parents never showed me any love. It's made it difficult for me to be nice to others. I can't even show love to my own children, but after the way I was brought up, what can you expect?"

I couldn't believe my ears! Christine was almost 60 years old! These poor women were ready to take their injuries all the way to the grave.

I asked Kim, "How about using the partner work in Yoga as a time to heal from the past? The people there really care about you."

"It's too painful. I can't do it," she replied.

I shared with Christine my own childhood stories, and how I had learned from them and this made the healing possible. She said she tried to heal, but just wasn't strong enough. (Thinking about it now, I realize she won't be "strong enough" until she decides to take back her power and stop giving it to the past and to other people.)

Over and over, I listened to these women re-affirm, "No one likes me." "I just can't." "It's too hard." "It's so easy for other people." "My childhood was too painful." "It's just who I am." "It's not my fault."

This really got me thinking.

Why do so many of us live in the past and hold tightly onto our wounds?

Why is the notion of healing so hard?

When we take FULL responsibility for who we are there is no one to blame. As long as we continue to blame someone or something else, then how can we be expected to heal? It's not our fault; it's beyond our control.

This is the safe way out. We can go on and one about how we'd love to "be" a better or happier person, but the truth is it's just so much easier to stay where we are. So, we devise (albeit subconsciously) a reason we can't move on.

It's impossible to take responsibility for our lives. Because if we do, then the blame-game is over. That's right, if we took responsibility for who we are, then we'd actually have to DO something and BE someone. No more living in the past and feeling sorry about how there's nothing we can do.

Bull shit! There's always something we can do. Just so many of us don't really want to get off our butts and do it.

Taking full responsibility for our lives is tough. If we fail, there is no one to blame but us! Now that's scary.

But here's the cool part. By taking full responsibility for ourselves, WE have the power to be as happy and successful as we want.

See what I'm saying? Without the risk, there is no glory.

So, what's it going to be? Live the rest of your life crying about the past or take your life back and start living it today?

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!


Everyday Yogini said...

Kris, I think this is just a fundamental part of really growing up is taking full responsibility. It is hard work, but it is really the only way to become who we truly are. Thank you for this post!

Laura said...

Yes! Yes! You are right, we are having similar thoughts. Once you can take responsibility for your past, you can then go even further and be deeply grateful for it. Our past shaped who we are today, the wonderful beings we are. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

"What's past is prologue." (Shakespeare from The Tempest) and "Your whole past was but a birth and a becoming." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

"I am grateful I have had challenges in my past. Those challenges helped shape me into the wonderful being I am!" Plus, you can then begin to be grateful for the current challenges you are in -- because you can know that those, too, are shaping you into an even more wonderful being. Ohmygoodness! I could go on and on on this subject!

Total Health Yoga - Kris said...

Thanks for the comments. I totally agree, Laura! I found that the challenges that I faced as a child made me a ten times better and more conscious parent. I'm now grateful for those trials as I can see how much kinder they made me.