Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Does It Mean To Take Responsibility For Your Actions?

This morning, one of my twitter followers posted this question.  I thought it was interesting because I have struggled with this at times in my own life. To state a little more, Frank Fine said most clients struggle with this even though they tell you they are doing just that.

Frank Fine ‏@frankfine asked, "What does it mean to you to take responsibility for your own actions?"

My initial response was simple or as simple as you can state in a tweet of limited characters.

@frankfine Realizing that my choices create my outcome and I chose my actions/behaviors/thoughts whether they are healthy or not healthy.

While I thought I had explained what I meant clearly, I soon found out there were gaping holes in my explanation.  Another twitter follower pointed this out and when they did, they made me really stop and think about what I had said.  Here is what they tweeted.

@mindbodythought @frankfine how do u determine what is healthy and what isn't before you experience the results for yourself?

Talk about something to kick the brain in gear.  This question was exactly one of those and again the limited amount of charactiers in Twitter sometimes make it difficult for me to explain what I mean.  If I can write a blog post, I'm usually better at fully explaining it.  My response is as stated next.

@NMJUNCTION @frankfine Maybe u don't know this beforehand, but process of experiences helps you identify it. Making me think - Thanks!

The more I think about it, the more I question if I really explained what I mean and do I really understand what I am trying to explain.  After all, this is the complexity of this issue that so many (like myself) struggle with.

We all make choices and through those choices we create our day or our outcome.  The choices I make are either ones that affect me in a healthy way or not.  I actually was thinking that my choices affect me in a positive way or negative way.  Yet, trying to describe it in such simplistic terms, fails to account for the full breadth of what is healthy or unhealthy and what is negative or positive.  For each person, that could be much different than the next.

It is my opinion, that a major part of life is about learning to get to know ourselves.  The more we know who we are, the more we discover all that we are.  It is a never ending cycle and hopefully something that most people engage in each day.  Through our experiences, our trying moments, our errors or mistakes, we tend to learn what is valuable to our life and what may not be.

Through these moments, we discover what is healthy for us and what is not.  We apply these lessons to our life and we apply them through our own consciousness and awareness.  This is why what may be positive for one, might not be for another and what might be negative for one, may be different for someone else.  We all have different experiences and life moments that bring us to varying conclusions.  We all have differing levels of consciousness and awareness.

To take responsibility for our actions though implies that we make choices even if we are not conscious of those choices.  More often than not, we are on autopilot and reacting to our day, rather than creating our day.  It is through the understanding that we play a role in what happens, that we can choose to decide differently.  As we choose differently, we give ourselves the possibility of different outcomes or taking responsibility for our actions and our life.

I still remember a therapist once telling me that each day we have the opportunity to create a new chapter in the story book of our life.  It is up to us how we do that and the colors we use or the creations we make.  If we do not like what we have created today, we are free to do something different tomorrow.   We are free to choose whatever colors we wish. It is all up to us and how we allow ourselves to move through our day.

At one time, I thought my life was doomed.  I thought that circumstances I had grown up with would dictate all my days and years ahead.  It was not until I began to see that I made the choices for what my life was currently and what it could become, that life began to look different.  I was responsible for my life, my actions, and what happened.

Healthy or not, I think the more we allow our self to become aware and conscious of who we are, we will find the way in which we determine what is or what is not healthy for our life.  It is a learn by example, paint by number situation where the more we allow ourselves to experience life, the more we will understand how healthy and non-healthy behavior applies to our life.

It is also necessary to point out that this is not a club which we use to beat ourselves up.  It is about allowing us to live and enjoy life and not need to be perfect every second of the day.  I know for a long time, I considered this to be a weakness.  If I could not figure out how to manage my life and grasp the healthy behaviors, I felt I was not perfect enough and I had failed.  All too often, we let our own experiences and life long teachings get in the way of us truly making choices that are good for us and claiming responsibility for our life.

Please feel free to add questions or give your thoughts on this.  I am by no means an authority on this.  It is something I continue to learn every day that I have the opportunity to be alive.   I am essentially thinking out loud as I write this blog post.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2/13/14 by Don Shetterly

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