"Who left the cereal out?"
It wasn't me.
"Did you leave your shoes under the table?"
.... I was going to get them later
"Why didn't anyone feed the dog?"
I did it last time!
"How did you fail an open book test?"
It wasn't my fault!
Does any of this sound familiar? I'm not trying to pick on my kids or your's because I could have just as easily asked, why no one paid the electric bill, or why she decided to skip mowing the lawn because it "might rain", or why he didn't put the grocery cart away because someone else would get it. It all comes down to taking responsibility and sometimes the easiest way, or what we think is the easiest way to deal with things is to blame someone else. I'm here to give you the cold, hard truth today. It is definitely your fault and your responsibility. Moms and Dads, we work hard (or we should be working hard) to make sure that our kids fess up and take responsibility for what they say and do but, if we are being honest, this all starts with us.
Before I get going and for the sake of full disclosure, I tend to fall a little left of center on the political sliding scale. I firmly believe in regulations, in helping the poor, in public education, and in saving the trees, oceans, elephants, and planet. I believe that social programs are vital to our country's success and that they are not only necessary but beneficial in growing a well educated and highly functioning society: I also believe that we live in a world full of entitled folks and over-sensitive babies. Why am I telling you this?
* Because receiving charity and being entitled are not the same thing.
* Because needing compassion doesn't meant that you don't need grit.
* Entitlement programs (and I hate that label) create survival, gratitude and allow grace. The other "entitlement" throws the responsibility out the door and into someone else's back yard.
* Needing someone who can have your back and listen to you is a huge blessing, but so is having someone who will call you out on your excuses and push you to take brave leaps.
* Being entitled blames others for what you don't have. Accepting an "entitlement" gift comes from a point of humility and the entitlement that we have as abundant givers to care for others.
Can you be entitled and poor, sure, but don't confuse the two. Can you be sensitive and tough, you bet you can and it's the best combination!
Taking responsibility for ourselves offers the gift of accomplishment.
Let's take a minute to appreciate what being responsible looks like so we know why it's important and how it all works. First thing first, and let me make sure we are all understanding this, YOU ARE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF and maybe your kids if you're in the childrearing stage. Once they go to school, you are no longer responsible for their choices. Understood? Responsibility creates an amazing experience that adds grit, color, and usually some pretty fantastic dinner party stories to our lives.
When we take the time to help a neighbor because we are able, to fess up when we mess up, or to work our asses off to become the best car insurance agent in the Tri-State area all by the sweat of our own brow, we know that we accomplished or offered something big that only we can claim. Does the mean no one offered us any help along the way? Absolutely not! It does mean that we graciously accepted help, pushed through the rough and scary parts that were completely uncomfortable toward our goal. The accomplished finish is ours only way to enjoy and that feeling of success that is magnified by the hard work and responsibility we took.
I used to write a blog called, "Thoughts of An Oxymoron" back in the day where I could air my own frustrations with my hot and cold thinking. It was all about the confusion swirling around in my head about things like I just mentioned. How could I possibly believe that entitlement programs and entitlement weren't necessarily related. How could someone be pro-choice and also against abortion? How could someone clearly write the label "JUMBO SHRIMP" when we just know those two things are in complete contrast?Do ya feel me? I wrestled with my own beliefs on the daily when all I really had to do was take responsibility for what I BELIEVE. In hindsight, I think I was so hung up on explaining myself and feeling quirky for not having a good answer that I was trying to make everyone believe me. I didn't want to upset anyone's apple cart and really wanted to be understood. Here's the thing...
Once we are cool with our own quirky beliefs, we don't need anyone else's opinion unless we ask for it. We are Free!
I used to be the worst at this. I'm not kidding; I could hardly choose a shirt color without asking if it looked okay and if someone told me to get green instead of blue, I might have just bought the green just to be "right". Yes, I'm serious. I am a recovering people pleaser. That's not to say that I don't want to make anyone happy anymore because I really do love making people happy. I'm a "fixer" and one of the most frustrating parts of my life is wanting to help and fix everyone when it's simply impossible. I want to be Santa without toys. I want to bring joy and happiness and wholeness to everyone but somehow that morphs into needing people's opinions when I don't actually "need" people's opinions. If this sounds like you, join me in letting that shiznit go. I'm embracing my quirky talk, my curvy spine, my tiny boobs and my semi-poor taste in music. I'm introverted, don't like the attention on myself, but I LOVE to do public speaking. I love my crazy curls and my snarky whit - even when I say things out of turn. I'm a hot mess and it's all good! It's me!
Next, lets talk about where we go once we take responsibility for all the awesomeness we are.
We grow and experience new exciting things in our life when we take responsibility for ourselves.
Yikes, right? Growth AND responsibility?! That's a lot to take on if you're just starting this whole idea which is exactly why I mentioned that, hopefully as parents or just responsible adults, we are taking this bull by the horns when our kids or the kids we might interact with are little. Simple things like teaching kids to tell the truth (even when it's hard), not to steal, to say please and thank you, to brush all of their teeth and not just one... all of those baby steps to being responsible adults aren't just to save you money at the dentist. All of those little experience stack up so that by the time our kids are able to drive, we feel able to trust them with the car and their decisions. When they go to school, they don't cheat on their tests, and when they get a job, they know that they have to show up the day after the Super Bowl, even if their team won and they were up all night partying. When we are finally able to take full responsibility for what we eat, where we spend our money, what we choose to devote time toward, and how we connect with spirituality, only then are we able to really be who we are and not have to ask other to bail us out, feel guilty, or fail at life. Passing off the responsibility to someone else steals your power; it allows them to be the bigger person and pick up your slack. That might feel great with a hangover but the guilt-hangover and the, "I'm a piece of crap friend" hangover is much harder to shake. So, what do we actually get from taking responsibility other than freedom and power - which is already a lot?
I'm not talking about trial abundance where you're tip-toeing around the idea of whether abundance is even possible, I'm talking full on rainbows and unicorns abundance! I'm talking about the kind of abundance where you're filled to the brim with peace and joy and the ability to give to others without holding back! I'm talking about your ability to give AND RECEIVE! Yes friends, being able to receive is a gift to you and to those who are giving. Life is a circle of sharing and caring, just like we learned back in kindergarten. When we accept what we have and what we are capable of being responsible for ourselves, we open up every door and window in the big wide universe to let all the great opportunities in. We allow ourselves to manifest our champaign dreams and caviar wishes because we can! We aren't holding ourselves back anymore with all of the negative garbage we spit out about who we are and what we "can't" do. We fully accept God's gifts to us and use them responsibly. Imagine if Stevie Wonder quit playing the piano because he couldn't see the keys or if Henry Ford gave up on the idea of a horseless carriage because people kept telling him he was bananas for trying. These guys knew they had a gift and an inspired idea and they took responsibility to do something with it.
Being responsible lets us know what our purpose is. Being responsible gives our lives meaning.
All of this responsibility talk can be overwhelming, I know. I'm sure you have a talent that nags at you or that you keep putting on the back burner out of fear. We all have that voice in our heads telling us to hold our horses and not get too carried away. Better safe that sorry, right? But are we really better safe than sorry? In my life, guilt and regret are two of the most nauseating horrid feelings I have ever experienced so when we are 101 and getting ready to step into the light at the end of the tunnel, are we going to be relieved that we didn't take responsibility for the gifts and talents we were given? Are we going to feel good about shrugging off what is really important to us out of some silly fear of failing? If there is one thing I know for sure it is that the only way to succeed is to fail a lot on the way to where we are going. I could quote some Michael Jordan statistic or tell you about how many time Edison tried to make that lightbulb light up but you've heard all of that before.
So where does this leave you? I didn't write this to instill a feeling of guilt or shame but to charge you; to get you excited about your life and what you have standing right in front of you no matter where you are standing. Whether you are 15 or 95, if you're still alive, you still have time to do big things. If you could wave a magic wand and change something about your life in the next 90 days, what would you do? I want you to think about that for a few minutes and comment. Then, when you're ready to take it a step further, I want you to sign up for your Breakthrough session so we can dig into what you want and what is keeping you stuck. Don't worry, it's free and only 45 minutes so you can't lose and I promise you'll come away with at least once insight into your life that shakes up you're beliefs and perception of what you can have. Are you ready to put on your adulting hat and be the most amazing you that you can be? Heck yes you are! Let's do this!