Last week, I set up a discussion based on the trigger of anxiety that began the ball rolling towards emotional boundaries. Man... I have traditionally been so bad at emotional boundaries. I struggle still, even today. But, for the first 30 or so years of my life, I didn't have any boundaries, didn't know they should exist or why, and I certainly had no idea how to create them.
Boundaries provide limitations for us to both take responsibility for our own emotions and actions while not becoming involved in the emotions and actions of others. Simply put: how I feel is my business, and how you feel is your business.
My own personal boundary issues exist more with knowing where my own boundary stops and other's start, and where I fail most is not understanding that I can't 'fix' other people or make them happy. I have trouble accepting that it's not my responsibility to be the source of happiness for someone else. I'm going to get deeper with that next week.
This week, we look introspectively. How can we take full responsibility for all of our actions and emotions without blaming, criticizing, or relying on others?
It might not be your fault, but it is your responsibility.
That's not fair, is it? It doesn't have to be. I struggle with the concept that life isn't fair a lot. I feel very justified and comfortable in a place where I treat others as I would treat myself and expect the same in return. And I'm so disappointed when I don't get from others what I would have given had the situation been reversed.
What I have needed to realize is that no one owes me anything. At all. Ever. And I can wish all I want that I receive absolute fairness out of all of my relationships, but it's not anyone's responsibility that I be happy or satisfied with my life except for me. When I do what I feel is fair and right for others, I am exercising my right to choose to do that, and should never feel as though I am owed anything after. And, if I am acting with the specific intention for others to be indebted to me, then I should think very carefully about how authentic I am being when I act with an ulterior motive in mind.
If we can learn to take full responsibility for the outcomes in our lives, for all of our happiness, for being fulfilled, for the choices we make... then we have all the power. That is a really scary proposition for many people. Take away all the potential scapegoats, and all you're left with is yourself. Taking responsibility though, should not trap you in the belief that everything is your fault, and that you should always take blame. This is a pessimism mindset. There are still things that are beyond our control. When taking responsibility, make sure that you are taking responsibility for things that were and are within your control, for choices you have made and the outcomes that have resulted.
There is a midway point between the pessimism mindset, where we assume all blame for things gone wrong, and the victim mindset, where we assign all blame to others. That is an ownership mindset. It is a self-trusting mindset where we can take responsibility for our part in the outcome, and allow others to take responsibility for their part. No matter the cause of a problem, we always can make the choice to move forward to set our intention towards a positive solution. That is our responsibility.
"Responsibility without choice is misery. Choice without responsibility is greed. To have balance, we must have both responsibility and choice. To have both, is trust. We must choose to be responsible, and we must be responsible in order to have choices." ~unknown source