FREEDOM IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR LIVES
BEING, DOING, AND HAVING
WE ARE products of our genetic inheritance … talents and weak points, modes of perception and certain blind spots are hard-wired in us, and this hard-wiring determines what kind of strategies we have used to survive childhood.
WE ARE NOT what we do. But we own the responsibility for recognizing our strong points and using them constructively, and knowing our weak points and acknowledging them.
WE OWN WHAT WE DO when we are adults.
WE HAVE lots of stuff that does not sort into who we are or what we do – like survival strategies. These “are” not us. We are responsible for them, as we are for our actions, but we cannot change these directly: we have to see where they came from, what created them, and start the change there. And that change begins with giving responsibility for them to the people who made it necessary for us to acquire them.
EVERYTHING WE DO CAN BE SORTED INTO THREE SECTIONS:
INTENTION, ACTION AND RESULT
“Intention” is what we plan or hope to achieve by doing whatever we do. For us it is a necessary part of the planning process, but we never deserve brownie points for our intentions – they are, or should be, totally irrelevant to everyone except ourselves, and to ourselves only relevant in the planning stage. (Another category could be called “explanation” or “reason”, if one has learned to find explanations and excuses for what others do, and therefore expects to be given points for excuses)
“Action”, what we do, we are totally responsible for … to the point where, if someone is hurt by my car when I am driving, I am responsible for what I did, even if I certainly did not mean to hurt anyone, and even the accident was caused by factors outside my control. I did what I did, and I own what I did, and accepting this is the only way out of a morass of denial and guilt.
“Result” is what is caused by our actions – directly or indirectly. If someone is hurt by my car when I am driving, that is a result of my actions. I do not own all the responsibility for the outcome, but I do own my actions.
Taking responsibility is not a question of taking on a huge package of blame, shame, burden and guilt. *
Our responsibility is something we HAVE – it is a part of us. Every day we choose to own this responsibility or to deny it – to be the source of our life, be in control, or to live in a tangle of excuses and denial.
* Quote from David Gerrold. There will be more about him later. And this post is going to be changed as I find the right words and figure out this pesky format stuff.