I once heard that responsibility is simply our ability to respond.
It confused me for a moment because it feels like such a loaded word.
In it live all the pointed fingers, blame, guilt, ownership, communication and “right-doing” that turn a frustrating situation into something more powerful.
Now I wonder if it ever held those things at all.
I’ve been through a series of very different situations that pushed me. To the edge and back, to grow, to learn, to speak and to listen. The least of all was listening to myself, though it became the most powerful voice of them all.
Great things have come of all those situations and the years they punctuated, but I stood in the proverbial rubble of each, listening to the echoes and whispers of what once stood there asking myself, “Who?”, not because I needed to blame someone but trying to figure out why and how it had gotten so far. The clouds of debris from breaking down old things were thick, but in the end…
The only answer left was me.
It was always me.
When we perceive responsibility as a way of sorting out who takes credit for various hurts in our lives, it takes on a flavour which changes the taste of the rest of what’s on our plate. Life stops being delicious and we wonder how each taste blends together into something so bitter.
It may make us feel wonderful for a time as we rally friends and loved ones around us to help fill the holes in our hearts that our best expectations left behind. We get to say that it was all the other people. We can tell others that we were in the right and have it all echoed back to us that we aren’t the bad people we think we are.
That may seem arrogant, to claim that we think we’re bad people, but in many cases, our lives become the screens we project the deepest feelings of inadequacy onto.
Whether we like it or not.
I know because I did it. I used to revel in being called helpful because it meant that I wasn’t the sum of those fears of not being good enough. It meant that I was a good person. The quantity of good things I did, qualified me for the experience of being worthy, but it never stuck around so I was wedged in this narcissistic cycle of exhaustion that knows no limits.
When people talk of heaven or hell on earth, I may have found hell. It looked and sounded a lot like not knowing how to love and cherish yourself. And it had a good deal to do with my ability to respond.
I’m going to make a bold suggestion…
Almost everything happening to you or to me, right now, is there because we want or need it to be.
It’s there because we allow it.
Granted, there are things. Many things. We cannot control them.
I know them well and I’m not here to discount those very real experiences.
What I am here to do is suggest that we have power to, in our lives.
Power to say yes or no. Power to let someone or something serve us. Or to not let something serve us well. Power to see. Power to let go. Power to ask for help.
With all that power to, who do we have left to say is at fault?
Fault, blame, guilt and shame soon become pointless, unless we begin to industriously dig deeper into the self-loathing rabbit hole.
What we’re left with is only information, because we’ve stopped operating from places of pain to really see that the “sides” we imagine are constructions of the mind.
What that also means is that most of the things that other people may have blamed you for once upon a time, now set you free.
Take a deep breath and really let that truth in.
Those things you’ve been blamed for, had nothing to do with you.
Instead of feeling fear, you see theirs and can feel deeper compassion.
I can’t make any grand promises, but I can say that no one has to hide anything any more or play their cards so close.
This is not superiority or righteous enlightenment of which I speak, either. It is true love.
It is the moment you see someone as they are, and choose to extend love rather than seeking to come out on top. The moment you see that you don’t need to be right because love matters more.
Some ask, “Why do you let them do it? Why not fight back?”
You begin to see that each situation/feeling/outcome you are blamed for, becomes an insight into their deepest fears. You become innocent and so do they. They get angry because they feel guilty of the very things they accuse you of, and so, lashing out becomes the best way to relieve themselves of the pain of believing they’re a bad person. But if you stay above the fray enough, you begin to see all the places you can give love.
With that kind of freedom.
With that kind of innocence, how beautiful could life be?
What if they were innocent all along?
What if you were innocent all along?
On The Wings of Miracles,