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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Accepting Responsibility

I am working on finding my purpose during my time here on earth. In doing this I will be addressing four basic life issues over the next several days that will determine the significance, the success, and the satisfaction of my life.

The four basic life issues I will be addressing are: Defining identity, accepting responsibility, determining priorities, and choosing authority.

I am creating this process off of a sermon I recently listened to that was given by a pastor at The Promise, in Indianapolis. You can hear his sermon here if you are interested: Resolving Issues on Your Purpose.
Today I am working on accepting responsibility. I have never lived in the idea that this is, or ever will be a perfect world. IT will never happen. This much I know. I do recognize that I seek perfection in way too many areas in life, and in very unrealistic areas at that.
I think I am good at recognizing when I want to place blame on others because I most often catch myself and in turn ask myself "What did you do that played a role in this undesirable outcome?" I'd like to decrease how frequently my instant reaction is to place blame, but at least I catch it before it comes out of my mouth!
A lot of people see themselves as a victim of circumstance. I am not one of those people. It actually amazes me how many people do not have the ability to see what role they have played in their circumstances. Some examples in my mind are:
You're bankrupt. Maybe it's because you shouldn't have purchased that brand new truck with a $400 a month payment when you knew you couldn't afford it.
You're sick with lung cancer. You knew that smoking could lead you down this path. You made a choice to not try harder to quit.  
You lost your job. Maybe you should have spent more time working and less time worrying about what other employees were or were not doing.
This is an area that I am confident I do not struggle in.
Accepting responsibility for the direction of your life. There it is. This is not to say that I do not accept how I got to where I am. I fully recognize that the issues that I face as a wife, mother, and person are a direct result of me making poor choices, or not speaking up when my spouse wanted to do something that I was dead-set against.
I need to being back my voice. I need to say "No, this is not in the best interest of my family, my children, my marriage, etc. I need to stop being a doormat to others. I really just need to let go of the idea of pleasing others ALL of the time, and continue to do it when it falls in line with my morals and values.
The next issue I need to address is my past. My past. I had a crappy childhood. That's as kindly as I can put it. I faced abandonment, abuse, neglect, rejection, and a lack of basic paternal love, in excess, during my upbringing. Sure, my parents made mistakes. A LOT of mistakes. I went out on my own at a young age, made a life for myself, and I am quite proud of the productive member of society that I became i spite of all of that. 
I cannot help what happened in my past. I can only take responsibility for my future. While I feel I'm not on the "blame it on my childhood" path, I certainly recognize the need for more responsibility of my future, and the future of my children.
One of the greatest gifts we have, no matter who or where you think the gift comes from, is the freedom of choice. It's why I am raising my children to be free thinkers.  I need to work harder and using my voice to make sure the choices I make, while not perfect, are the best possible choices for my future, given the options I may have.
We cannot control the circumstances we face in this life. We can only control how we respond to the circumstances. This is another area I need to focus on. I may not like the way something is going. The way I respond to that which I dislike needs to be in a more positive and productive manner. No one gains anything from negativity except misery.
We cannot live off of other peoples spiritual commitments. We have to foster our own spiritual paths, and we have to follow the path that our heart leads us to. I cannot become a Christian because my best friend is. My husband cannot simply be a Secular Humanist just because I am. We have to do what works for us, as an individual. This is what I have been teaching my children for 13 years. It's why we have an Atheist, and Agnostic, a believer, and a free thinker in our house. I encourage them to follow what feels right to them, and for them. For those who know me know that this goes without saying. I am confident in this area. I am comfortable with who I am and where my spiritual path is leading me today. I am also not so unbelievably naive as to say my path wont change sometime down the road.
The only issue in my immediate circle is my husband living off of my spiritual commitments instead of his own. I cannot do anything about that situation beyond encouraging him to find what is right for him, just as I have done for our children.
If you have stuck with me this long I thank you so much for your support. I hope some of the lessons I've learned from this have, in some way, helped you as well. I have a better understanding now of what areas I need to work more on when it comes to responsibility of self.
Next topic will be Determining priorities. Stay tuned!

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