“DRAW WHAT YOU SEE, NOT WHAT YOU THINK YOU SEE” - Bob Roper, my art master.
Funny word this; in current use it often suggests fault (such a group has claimed responsibility for ... - should we say irresponsibility in this case?) It means having the ability to respond. We live in a society which supports the belief that what happens to us influences the way we lead our lives, but not that the way we lead our lives influences what happens to us. The most we can expect if our faith supports the notion is that “our reward may be in heaven” - not now.
The truth is that everything we do has a consequence or a payoff and we do things for what we believe will be the results we need. The difference between those of us who feel we are being genuinely selfless and those who know they get a kick out of it is that the second lot are aware of it! The next thing we have to deal with is that if we are in charge of our lives(and responsible for ourselves) that means things we’re responsible for altering things we don’t like as well as taking credit for the things that work in our lives.
So we realise we have the power to change. We are responsible for our relationships with those around us. There is no opportunity to blame any longer as we are responsible for our own reactions and feelings in all situations (including being gentle with ourselves while we still leap to blame someone who has ‘hurt’ us ... ) and there is no place for guilt. Remember everyone always does their best. Guilt appears to be judging the way we are leading our lives by someone else’s standards - when our own are perfectly good in their own right and more appropriate to our wishes in our lives. (The Inner Critic doesn’t share our ideas or tastes and will always point out how we could have done something differently, that’s its job and we don’t need to act on any of its advice we don’t agree with upon consideration, or feel bad if we don’t.)
Since we are responsible for everything that happens to us, on some level we have made a decision , we are therefore able to aim for what we consciously want. On the way we will turn up all the beliefs that, perhaps unconsciously, have been directing our experience so far. We often let these slip in the way we speak, the phrases and generalisations that we use; “I always forget things”, “I never get it right”, “I’m stupid” .... “Life’s not fair,” “Men are all the same”, etc. I have become wary of using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ as I have found that soon afterwards follows the exception to the rule. We also give away our dissatisfaction with life, which you may remember is of our own creation - what we expect to see, by complaining about, for instance, the weather: “how awful the rain is” is the one which stays with me. So many people complain, and yet we are so blessed to live in a climate in Britain where our food grows so successfully, that we have taken it for granted. I accept that there are some people who don’t have a warm dry home to go back to, but those are not the folks I mean here. We can change our point of view and enjoy things we used not to like, I was going to say tolerate then but into my mind popped the example of me a few years ago plucking up the courage to face living on my own, I was steeling myself for a time of loneliness and responsibility that I would find a burden; I had no idea that I would enjoy it. The challenges that we dread most can sometimes not be as hard as we picture them.
This all means that there are no accidents and no random coincidences - no escape from responsibility, but at the same time we are in charge and in control of how much we choose to take on.