We live in a world where the majority believe that taking full responsibility for ourselves looks like meeting the standards and expectations of culture and society. We react to life based on our subconscious beliefs that we picked up along our path. Each day we make choices that we learned are both acceptable and logical. We continue to make these same choices year after year without ever checking in to notice how they may actually cause us to feel. Often we will define our success based on the opinions of others' definition of success. We strive to fit ourselves into a box, moving through the motions of life so that we get to affirm to ourselves, "See, I am responsible."
The truth is the box doesn't exist. Taking full responsibility for yourself has nothing to do with how life looks and everything to do with how life feels from within.
True responsibility requires going within and discovering what does and doesn't feel right to you and only you. When you open up to this level of responsibility, you also open up to remembering and embracing your own unique truth. This leads to a life filled with self-connection, inspiration, meaning and purpose.
Unfortunately, most of us hesitate getting clear on our own individual truth. We hold back from even contemplating this idea because on some level we know it will require getting honest with ourselves. We also know that getting honest with ourselves will often bring up feelings of uncertainty and fear. As Tony Robbins states, "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." In order to get honest, you must be willing to get comfortable in the discomfort of uncertainty. You can either choose to become comfortable with your uncertainty or you can watch life pass by and look back one day wishing you had followed the curiosity of your heart and soul. We always have this choice. It's a gift we are given each and every day.
We only get this one precious life and most of us believe that it is normal to settle simply because we have witnessed those around us do the same.
There is nothing normal about pushing ourselves to do things that don't fulfill us. There is nothing normal about forcing ourselves into situations that don't feel good. There is nothing normal about settling for people, places and things so that we can feel like we fit in. There is nothing normal about playing the game of life in a state of fear while leaving our heart and soul on the sidelines.
I have come to learn that taking complete responsibility for your life is a journey. It is one that takes commitment, courage and a deep dive into your internal state of being. It takes the commitment to put yourself first, the courage to ask the hard questions and the willingness to look in places that we are running from. What I know for sure is that when we are willing to confront the truth, we have the ability to change anything. So how do we get to the truth? The following are seven ways to do just that.
1. Give Up the Need for Approval -- Right away you might hear yourself say, "I don't need the approval of others." What if I told you that you could do anything that you wanted with your life? Your first thoughts would most likely be about what those closest to you would say if you actually did it. When we choose to make changes, there will be times when others will not support us or even understand us. We fear how others will respond and so we hold ourselves back. Life is too short to live your life on somebody else's terms. Be courageous and take a stand for this precious life you were given.
2. Be attentive to your self-talk. You can learn a lot about the way you feel about yourself by paying attention to the way you speak to yourself. Take a daily inventory of the thoughts that run through your mind each day. You can do this through the practice of meditation or journaling. Observe your thoughts and beliefs that you are carrying about yourself and your life. Are you complaining? Are you blaming others? Every thought affirms how you view yourself and your life. Becoming aware of the beliefs that don't serve our highest good makes spake for the voice of truth to speak to us.
3. Practice Mindful Gratitude. Believe it or not we can use gratitude in a way that disempowers us. Often we will tell ourselves that people have it much worse than we do and so we should be grateful for what we do have. This form of gratitude keeps us in a state of victimhood. Gratitude is a beautiful thing until we use it as an excuse to keep us stagnant and stuck. True gratitude is being grateful for all of our experiences especially the more challenging ones. Often we will bypass the discomfort and use gratitude as an excuse to remain where we are. When we can be honest about what we desire to change and be thankful for the discomfort, the lesson that is being presented can show up more clearly and we can then take the appropriate action to change our circumstances.
4. See Everyone as Your Teacher -- Every person you encounter can teach you something about yourself. When you find yourself emotionally triggered or reacting to someone, it is simply because they are showing you apart of yourself that you have not embraced. Who irritates you? Who do you admire? Who are you jealous of? Who empowers you? List the traits in them that cause you to feel this way. Work towards owning and embracing all of these traits. You need all of these traits to live an authentic and fulfilling life.
5. Forgive Yourself and Others -- When we take responsibility for our own truth we will be guided to forgive those that have influenced our thoughts and beliefs. We will also be guided to forgive ourselves for betraying our own truth. When we accept where everyone else is, we leave much room to forgive and release attachment to any old stories that have held us back. Forgiveness truly sets us free to create our lives from a heart-centered place while releasing the thoughts, beliefs and opinions of others.
6. Be Willing to Ask the Big Questions. Take the time to answer the following questions. How do you truly feel each day? How do you desire to feel? Who do you desire to be? What are you here to contribute? Are you willing to get curious about your passions? Are you willing to discover and own that you came here with gifts to share with the world? Do you want to be inspired by something greater than yourself? If you allow yourself to be still, what is your inner voice trying to convey to you? Asking empowering questions will open the door to empowering answers.
7. Create Your Own Story. You are given the opportunity to write a new story each and every day. You write your story each day through the thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions that you choose. Yes, we all have the ability to consciously choose them. You get to create one that empowers you and ignites the light that lives inside of you. Begin to create a story that lifts you up, inspires you and moves you towards passion, purpose and meaning.