Friday, April 23, 2010

Choices and responsibility

As you know, I've been reading The Power of Now in my book club. And while there are lots of things I don't like about the book and other things I disagree with, there are some truths there.The trick for me is to find the truths and try and ignore the parts that are silly or wrong.

Anyways, the latest gem I've come across is this one, starting at the bottom of the page 168:
"A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, ... that other people and what they did to you are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain or your inability to be your true self."

I've believed for a long time that what has happened in the past doesn't need to define who a person is in the present and this quote sums up my thoughts pretty succinctly. The only person responsible for who you are is you. Even if someone has wronged you, or even if someone has done something unthinkable to you, you're the only one who can decide who you're going to be and how you're going to handle the event.

In a way, that's a lot of responsibility. It's easier to focus on the past and to make someone else responsible for your current situation, because then you don't have to worry about changing anything. You can just say that this is who you are because this or that happened and that's it. But that gives that event and someone else a whole lot of power over your life. It's your life and you should have power over it.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that anyone should just push their feelings to the side or ignore bad events. When someone terrible happens it's important to deal with it and not just to suppress your feelings. But dealing with it doesn't mean to hold onto it and to blame it for your current situation. So take responsibility for your life... don't choose to be a victim or to give up power over your own life. You deserve to be happy no matter what has happened in the past.. and if you're still living in the past, come on into the present.


Robin said...

To quote Jean-Paul Sartre: "freedom is what you do with what's been done to you"

Anonymous said...

Loved what you had to say. It is so easy to lay blame, however, working through feelings that arise when others harm me brings with it freedom.

Aunt Margaret

Anonymous said...

Your book club sounds awesome! Wish I could find one similar :)
Love, Mom