The reality is much of the drama, stress and angst in our lives we bring on ourselves. It is a hard pill to swallow, but if we really stop and analyze our problems, in many cases, we will see that our thoughts and actions are what cause us to suffer. The good news is these are both within our control. In other words, we can do something about them.
First, let's look at a few examples of how we make ourselves suffer.
We complain we are out of shape but then we spend the night glued in front of the boob tube.
We complain about our partner neglecting our needs but are we meeting his/her needs?
We complain about our exes, the breakups and our singleness, but we neglect to make time to look inside and see what role we played in our relationships and how we need to change.
We complain about our finances, but never make a budget or track our expenses.
We moan about our upbringing and what a poor job our parents did so we stay stuck in our emotional ruts for years.
We suffer because of what someone said or did to us but we fail to take action to stop it.
It's easier to place blame or look for an excuse like:
- "I don't have time to exercise"
- "I don't have time to cook healthy"
- "I don't have time to clean"
- "I'm not in love with my spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend anymore"
- "I act this way because of how I was raised"
- "Oh, I didn't want to hurt their feelings, embarrass them, etc".
You get the idea. All of these statements are putting the responsibility on someone else's shoulders when it should be on our own. It is much easier to lay the blame elsewhere or make excuses for our lack of action but guess what? This keeps us stressed and stuck. We won't grow. We won't learn. We don't change and we won't move forward in our lives.
If we want to develop our personal power and suffer less, we need to ask ourselves this question: "What did I do to make this happen?" and then, "What do I need to do to change this?" These two questions are empowering. In any given situation, there is always something we can do to suffer less mentally and emotionally.
As a woman who has gone through some very tough stuff, I finally said to myself "Enough is enough" to the mental and emotional suffering. The path to freedom began with lots of self-reflection. I have become aware of behavior patterns and thought patterns and worked on changing them one by one. I've learned to say "No" when before I would have said "yes". I've learned to take better care of myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I've learned I need more space than other people, so I guard my quiet time. I've learned that I am responsible for my well-being and self-care and I don't have to explain to others unless I really want to. If I don't take care of myself, I will pay the price in my well-being.
Experiences that cause us pain have a message. There is always a lesson in the pain. It is up to us to take the time to figure out what that message is. This is our personal responsibility. No one else's. And this is how we will grow and reduce the stress in our lives.
When we learn to take responsibility for our actions, our words and our thoughts, we increase our personal power. We no longer have to play the blame game or the victim role. We can take back parts of our lives slowly but surely. In my next post, I will discuss the importance of forgiveness in taking back our lives so stay tuned.
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Until next time, keep looking up!