Finally Taking Responsibility For Your Life (Or Why Blaming Others Isn’t Helping You)

“The law of karma states unequivocally that although we cannot see the connections, we can be sure that everything that happens to us good and bad originated in something we did or thought. We ourselves are responsible for what happens to us, whether or not we can understand how. It follows that we can change what happens to us by changing ourselves; we can take our destiny into our own hands.”

– Eknath Easwaran

You are the only one you can save, which is a good thing, because you are the only one you are capable of saving.

This is both scary and liberating.

It is scary because when we realize that we can save ourselves, we must acknowledge that we must become the very hero we’ve been waiting for all this time. The hero we hoped would come and rescue us from our own problems.

Becoming our own hero can be pretty daunting. For we know that we are flawed, we make mistakes, and we have our ugly sides—and so that means that we can no longer harbor any illusions or fantasies about a “perfect hero” because now that we are our own hero we know that we are not perfect.

Although the revelation that we are capable of saving ourselves is scary, it is also very liberating. It is liberating because it means that we can do something. We have power. We can act. We can change our own destiny.

Whereas before life was something that happened to us… and we just reacted to it as best we could… now we can take the lead. We can make things happen, we can make our demands, we can make the changes that we want, and we can take initiative.

Of course, just because we are capable of saving ourselves, it doesn’t mean that all our problems will simply resolve themselves and things will run smoothly from now on.

No.

But it does mean that the energy we’ve wasted blaming others for our current situation can be used—instead—to change our current situation.

And that is pretty darn powerful.

Why Blaming Others Isn’t Helping You

Blaming ourselves is a wonderful delaying tactic.

It’s far easier for me to lay the blame on another than to actually look at myself and change myself and get moving again.

Taking responsibility for your life is so hard, so trying, so difficult. And no doubt, it will probably hurt.

So that’s why we would rather blame others. Blaming others is a way we can avoid exercising our own hidden power. It’s a way that we can avoid being the hero in our own lives. It’s a way we can put the breaks on our own progress.

We can blame, blame, blame…

It’s your fault.

It’s my parent’s fault.

It’s society’s fault.

It’s the government’s fault.

It’s the corporation’s fault.

It’s my ancestor’s fault.

It’s the news, it’s the weather, it’s God, it’s this, it’s that, it’s you, it’s me….

It’s my fault.

It’s my fault.

It’s my…

Yes.

The most common and most unproductive blame game we play (which is often overlooked) is blaming ourselves.

For those who’ve figured out that blaming others doesn’t help, they’ve settled for just blaming themselves.

But taking responsibility for your own life is not the same as blaming yourself for everything that’s gone wrong in your life.

Taking responsibility for your own life means you recognize that you have the power to begin to change your life for the better. On the other hand, blaming yourself often takes you down the slippery slope of suspecting that there is something intrinsically wrong with you:

“It’s my fault because I’m stupid. It’s my fault because I’m ugly. It’s my fault because I’m terrible at this or that and I always will be. It’s my fault because I’m fat. It’s my fault because I’m just not good at anything and nothing ever works out for me, etc., etc., etc.”

The blame game is a losing game. No matter who you blame, even if it’s just yourself, no progress ever comes of it.

No. The only thing that will get you moving again is forgiveness. You must forgive yourself and others, and then, you must finally take responsibility for your own life.

Finally Taking Responsibility For Your Life

Taking responsibility for your own life means that you finally become the hero you’ve been waiting to save you from the wreckage.

You become the reason your life is worth living. You become the catalyst for positive change in this world. You do what needs to be done in order to heal and grow and become whole again.

You become the author of your own life story. You chose the characters, you set the scenes, you map out the plot. You draw out the outline and, in your own private notes, plan for the grand conclusion.

Yes, you still acknowledge that they’re struggles and limitations and challenges and tragedies that you may face, that are wholly our out of your control. You know that not everything will go your way, and that you may not get everything you want or hope for, but still, you no longer leave all the hard parts of your life on a dusty, old shelf for someone else to deal with.

You stop waiting for Superman to come. You stop waiting for Lex Luthor to come around and fix what he broke.

You stop waiting for a hero to save you, and you start the hard work of saving yourself. You stop waiting for them to fix it, and you begin to fix it yourself.

Because, you see, you always had the power to fix it.

And that is the scary thing. And that is the liberating thing.

much love,

Ollin

Today’s Courage Exercise

Find one person you are blaming for something that has gone wrong in your life. Today, forgive the person you are blaming, and then take full responsibility for fixing the thing that they broke

Realize that although “the blame game” seems like it’s helping, it really isn’t getting you anywhere. It is only by taking full responsibility of your life that you’ll be able to get yourself moving again.

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7 comments on “Finally Taking Responsibility For Your Life (Or Why Blaming Others Isn’t Helping You)

  1. Kerry Stith says:

    Olin, I do resonate with the theme of your message, but have a very different view from a theological perspective on savings one self. We can’t go to the other extreme of waiting to airlifted out of our circumstances and blaming others does not good at all & is counterproductive

  2. Thanks for this post. Great reminder that blaming myself and taking responsibility are not the same thing. =)

  3. Thats cool. The motto of my blog is”a superhero persona” because of eberyhting you said right there. Our fears hold us back, or if u check out s video on my blog i just posted of ray wylie hubbard: “our fears are our dragins hiding our most precious treasures” so true. Be your own hero!

  4. lkwatts says:

    Ollin,

    What a great and timely post for me. I have a friend who has M.E. but that is the least of his problems. M.E. is a chronic, debilitating illness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone but I find his whole attitude so much worse. He is the man in your post. It’s him who blames everyone else for not having a job, for living in a hovel, not having many friends or a relationship when all he needs to do is change his attitude. He does nothing but lay the blame on those who try to help.

  5. Rubella says:

    So very moving and uplifting, I was thinking these same thoughts earlier this week. No more blame game. Well said🙂

  6. Andrea Lewis says:

    Ollin, as usual very uplifting post.

    For years I played the blame game. After repeating this vicious cycle I realized that I was the only one responsible for my life and for my happiness. No one else! It has been a gradual process but it’s quite empowering to change oneself because it not only increased my self-awareness but self-confidence.

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