Taking responsibility isn’t as easy as it sounds

A common way we deal with upsets and challenges is to attribute responsibility for these happening to other people, events, circumstances or situations and not look so readily at what we bring to the party, to be taking responsibility. If your business isn’t doing so well then it is “because of the recession”. If we have an accident, it is “because of his or her driving”. If life is going badly, it is “because of the things that keep going wrong”, etc. To take responsibility, to be self accountable, is to enquire within and to explore what is going on within us that is helping these events to occur. Yet, even when you’ve got a grasp of this approach, you might find yourself flipping back to the “blame” polarity, which can of course involve blaming yourself too!

It is easy to blame others. When something happens involving something or someone outside of us, it can seem as if they’ve caused it. We came to believe early on in life that others controlled the shots and we had to influence their behaviour to get what we needed. So, to get fed we had to cry and if we weren’t getting our needs met, we’d make pretty sure “they” got it. Growing up brought us perhaps unpleasantly face to face with the possibility that if we were to progress in life, we needed to take responsibility for our lives. Some learn that more quickly than others, and then perhaps for some areas of their lives but not others, and other people get there later if at all.

To take responsibility for our lives involves the lot, including our thoughts and feelings, and this is where it can get hard because it can seem that someone else has triggered an internal response and so surely “they did it”. What is not so obvious is that that event “out there” pushed a button, some old-established thought or feeling, as a result of which we went through some well-established pattern of response. This is where the real practice comes in, pausing the “knee-jerk” response and becoming aware of your habitual internal processing.

The blame reaction can be very subtle, even occuring when we think we’ve “got it”. Or it can suddenly come along and bite you, to remind you it hasn’t gone away. The point here is to remember how awareness can work, how we can often need to “re-mind” ourselves, to bring ourselves back on to our path. With awareness, you notice it, get it and re-focus. It involves an act of will. To think we’ve “got it” once and for all if to kid ourselves. It takes working on and becoming aware of the more subtle ways the ego trips us up. Over time the more ingrained patterns emerge. This is not the time to give up, hard though it can be at times, but to stay the course. Ultimately that is what can be so rewarding.