"Whenever we hold other people or circumstances responsible for our feelings, we immediately become their slave. Claim total responsibility. Claim total freedom."
One of the ideas frequently suggested on the Happy Cow website is the notion that we should take complete responsibility for our own feelings. But why should we do this? What is in it for us? Why not blame others? Why not blame the fickle hand of fate? At least then we don't have to feel bad about ourselves for cocking it up as well.
People often make the mistake of confusing responsibility with blame. This is most often the case when looking at a past situation in hindsight. The past is dead and gone and looking at it is totally futile. I recommend letting the past go completely. It has nothing to do with you.
What Happy Cow suggests has nothing to do with the past or the future. It has nothing to do with blame or judgement. She is talking about taking responsibility in the present moment. When we take responsibility in the present moment, then we immediately regain our innate response ability.
Imagine there is a situation in which you are feeling hurt and you blame that on another person. Your ability to respond to the situation immediately becomes very limited. You have handed all power over to the other person. The best you can do is sit around and hope that they apologise or in some way take steps to rectify the situation. Your feelings are entirely in their hands. Contrast this with the situation in which you take total responsibility for your feelings. Then you have the ability to respond however you see fit. You can still choose to be upset if you wish to. That is your free choice. Or you can choose some other feeling response. Or you can choose not to respond to the situation at all. Your ability to respond in any way you see fit is total. In the first scenario you are at the mercy of the other. They can push your buttons and pull your strings. You have become like a robot or a puppet. In the second scenario you are your own person once more.
Imagine that there is a life situation which you are blaming on fate, saying life is just not fair and there is nothing you can do about it. Perhaps you have just been made redundant for example. Which person is likely to be more effective in this situation? One who spends time cursing the fickle hand of fate and despising more 'fortunate' individuals or one who accepts total responsibility for current circumstances and sets about doing whatever (s)he can to change them? Even if circumstances cannot be immediately changed, one can still take responsibility for one's attitude towards this. One can get miserable because that is what people 'normally do'. Or one can courageously accept responsibility and in doing so gain the ability to respond with whatever emotion one chooses.
Whenever we claim responsibility, we immediately gain response ability. If we blame and scapegoat, then we are voluntarily giving that ability away.
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