If we were really honest, we would many of us probably say we struggle with the idea that we create our reality. We would probably attribute at least some responsibility to others or events. Many in the news industry would be out of a job if a big number gave up on this way of thinking.
Perceiving ourselves to be at the effect of people or situations, to be the victim, is a classic ego characteristic. “Who I am… ” is one who finds things happens to them, or is done to by others. The positive side of course can be that good things can happen to you (or me) too, but we’re more inclined to notice the victim orientation because we won’t like it and think or feel others do it to us or events or circumstances work to our disadvantage. There’s no or a limited sense of our contributing to it.
One of the classic treatises on this subject is that of Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he suggests that we may not be responsible for how we got to be in a certain situation but we are responsible for how we deal with it. He was referring to how the few survivors of Jewish inmates of Auschwitz handled the trauma of incarceration. He noticed that those that took responsibility tended to survive. Others would go on to say that we are 100% responsible for our lives, that we create our own reality. You’ll find this for example in the Law of Attraction material, in that how we think and feel affects what we draw to us, in other words create.
This can be a very hard one for many people to accept, since it flies in the face of their experience and their beliefs about themselves, other people and life. Some of us can get very invested in being a victim, almost to the point that it defines who they are. “I am how I am…” because of what happened to him or her. It can be etched on their faces, expressed in their words and acted out in their behaviour. Others get it partially, and work with personal responsibility in parts of their lives, but not in others. Or, for some, the personal responsibility model is one they believe in – until something big comes along, and then they flip back into victimhood.
The power of responsibility can be seen when, after a period of blaming others or life for what’s going on, we finally begin to let go of the victim drama and start to accept that we have a part to play, that maybe somewhere we are contributing to this and then think out ways of responding differently and to take control of the process from our side.