Taking Responsibility for Your Own Life - in 5 simple steps.
While I was writing this article for the E.P.I.C North County magazine, I was asking myself: what was the one most important insight that I took away from all my coaching training?
There were many things that I learned but the one teaching that sticks out and that really impacted me the most was the concept of “being responsible”. Not being responsible in the usual sense of "being to blame" when something goes wrong or able to take credit when something unfolds successfully, or as Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the adjective “responsible”: “Liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive or agent”.
In the life-coaching sense of the meaning, being responsible has a different connotation. It means “being cause in the matter of your own life.” We don’t hand our power over to someone else. We think for ourselves, listen to our own hearts and take a stand for what has integrity in our own lives. We move things forward, we look at the things that stop us and resolve them, and we continually try to improve in any way we can. We are responsible (cause in the matter) for our own life.
In my personal and professional opinion, self-care and acceptance start with being responsible for one's own life. I help my clients create emotional health by inventing a new way of being: getting them present to an underlying, subconscious belief that is causing them pain or resistance, helping them to release it and to create something new in its place that is more inspiring and empowering to them.
This is a short, 5-step exercise to practice being cause in the matter in an area of your own life where you may have been struggling or resisting, to invent a new, powerful way of being and to create a desired outcome. Any area and any problem works for this exercise.
Let's start with the area in your life where you would like to create more power for yourself. Where do you experience pain, suffering or resistance?
Look at what your current way of being (struggling, suffering, being fearful or resistant…) is costing you. Is it costing you your vitality? Your friendships, love or affinity? Maybe it’s costing you your health. Fulfillment, happiness or full self-expression are also often missing when we suffer. Write down anything from this list that applies (and more if you can think of additional things).
Now start thinking about the payoff in this situation. There is always a payoff and it’s usually not pretty.
What is holding your suffering and disempowerment in place? Look deeply and be really honest with yourself. This is all part of radical self-love and self-care. You want to look at what part of your shadow (we all have one) makes you STAY in the place of suffering - versus releasing and moving forward.
Typically, the things that hold the suffering in place – the payoff - are along the lines of wanting to be *right* about something. (It’s very important for the ego – which is full of basic survival mechanisms - to be “right”.) "I was right, they were wrong. They don’t know what they’re doing." We try to avoid being dominated or held responsible, and we want to come out on top and prefer to invalidate or blame others over admitting where we were wrong. Our ego is just fine with that.
Now this is where being responsible comes in. Being responsible (being cause in the matter of our own life) is hugely empowering for us. We realize that we are in charge and that we create our own suffering. Nothing happens by accident around us.
Maybe you lost your job because you consistently weren't doing your best work. Can you own that? Maybe your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ spouse left because you weren't giving her or him what they needed emotionally and ignored their requests for it. Can you look at that and admit that you contributed to the breakup?
Look, and write down what comes to mind. Be honest with yourself. There is no blame here, just pure observation.
And then think about who you really want to be in this scenario. What way of being would inspire and empower you?
Maybe you need to talk to someone (the other person who is involved in this situation) and clean up your part in it and the mess you made. Owning what you did or didn't do and powerfully moving forward with a new way of being is the key to power, peace and freedom!
Write down a few words that describe ways of being that would inspire you in your situation. Come up with some action steps. How would you apply this new way of being in your life? Who do you need to talk to, and who would you have to be to create a sense of completion for yourself and the other person?
And then what else do you want to create? The world is full of possibilities.