Archive for July, 2008

The Double P Syndrome

Double P Syndrome – by Lauren Kennedy

Do you suffer from the Double P Syndrome? Both syndromes often go hand in hand. Some people have trouble with one and not the other. Or sometimes they are aware of one and not the other. But either one can cause frustration and prevent you from moving forward with your goals.

Have you guessed what they are?

Perfectionism and Procrastination.

Are you experiencing the symptoms of either one? Or both? Do you want a solution?

Perfectionism can affect several areas of your life. First there’s emotional perfectionism. That ‘s when we believe that we must always be in control of our emotions. We only can have positive emotions, we must deny or dismiss negative feelings and avoid any situation or challenge that we suspect will elicit one of those dreaded negative emotions.

There is also performance perfectionism. The symptoms of this form of perfectionism are two fold. You avoid participating in any activity, project or situation in which you fear your performance may not be stellar. And if you do decide to pursue an endeavor, you anguish over every detail, from every possible perspective to ensure that every aspect is above reproach.

And finally there is moral perfectionism. The issue here is that you resolve to be without fault according to everyone’s moral code. Now that’s quite a feat, considering that moral codes can vary greatly and include a variety of rules, expectations and interpretations.

Procrastinatiion

There are three strains of procrastination that could affect you. The first becomes ingrained due to our experiences. Perhaps in the past, someone else has come to our rescue time and again, when we have been dragging our feet or avoiding responsibility. We are now still under the impression that someone else will take on the tedious tasks for us or bail us out of our messes.  We haven’t realized that even if we are skilled at getting others to do the grunt work, there is no free lunch. Some of the repercussion are feeling obligated, guilty, or lacking a sense of self efficacy. And people may talk about you behind your back.

Sometimes procrastination is a signal that the direction in which we are headed needs adjustment. Is our goal really what we want or is it something that we are doing to satisfy someone else. Maybe we think we “should” do it, that we are expected to do it, but  its not what we want to do nor do we believe in it.  In these situations, procrastination is an early warning sign. “Change direction or you  will develop a more serious syndrome in the future.”  We can pretend we did not see the sign, but that won’t prevent increased venerability to a future attack from another type syndrome. And some are very resistant to cures.

The third strain of procrastination originates from fear. Fear that we will not be Perfect. The cure for this form of procrastination is of course, finding an antidote for Perfectionism.

Now I can list many negative effects of Perfectionism. Here are just a few of them: it causes immobilization, it causes stress and anxiety, you are setting yourself up for failure, every task will require more of your time and energy, and you can’t please everyone. But here’s the most important one. It’s impossible.

However,  the truth is that people are seldom able to change a habitual behavior just because they discover that it is not in their best interests. The behavior has become the only way they know how to cope. They are using it to fill a basic need or they are using it to avoid the fear or the pain of something real, imagined or remembered. Some possible examples may be fear of criticism, fear of shame or fear of failure. These examples often have their genesis in the issues of  judgment, expectation and self worth.

Perfectionism can keep us stuck and safe from having to make decisions, from being responsible, from acknowledging consequences. Here’s a valuable insight. The cure does require the decision to relinquish self righteousness and join the imperfect human race.

Perfectionism, although sometimes mistaken for a positive trait, is an obstacle to progress, growth, goals and self worth. The pursuit of excellence is the road to success. But the path of perfectionism immobilizes you in the quicksand of fear.

But it is not a fatal condition nor does it have to be a chronic one. You just need the knowledge and desire to apply life affirming behaviors and choices to overcome the destructive syndrome of perfectionism.

Are you are ready to step into the freedom of possibilities, and leave the crutch of perfectionism behind?

You can always put it off for a decade or two. But be ware. That could be a indication that  the Procrastination syndrome spreading.

If you are ready for some additional information, email me or call for a free 30 minute session.

We have a cure for the double P syndrome.

To Your Authentic Life,

Lauren Kennedy

blog(at)insitetoexcellence.net
Phone: 513-889-1870

July 30, 2008 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

Is That All There Is?

“Most men live a life of quiet desperation.”

Do you?

Do you force a smile on your face, stand up straight and go out to meet the world.
Do you stoically keep the dreaded commitments that fill your planner?
Do you unquestionably carry out your mounting responsibilities?

If getting through the day is an effort or a struggle, if your “to do” list has mostly responsibilities that you believe you “should” do and few to none that you “want” to do, if you are scrambling to meet other people’s expectations, if you feel that your life has no meaning or often think to yourself, “is this all there is,” or if you just constantly feel a vague dissatisfaction or unease for no apparent reason, then you have the symptoms of living a life of “quiet desperation”.

We all want to be happy. We often have a list of things that we think will make us happy. Perhaps we decide that a new car is what we need to be happy. But how long would that happiness really last?

Or maybe it’s money that you think will bring you happiness. More money may make your life easier, others may treat you with more respect, and you will have more things and activities to distract you from your emotions or from your emptiness. But can it really make you happy. Can it improve your relationships with others? Will it change how you feel about yourself? Will it make your life have more meaning?

Maybe you think that you must do all the “right” things and live up to everyone’s expectations before you finally can deserve to be happy.

Some of us have amassed a long list of accomplishments, each of which we thought would be the key to our happiness. We think we will be happy when we are successful, when we achieve our goals. Those personal achievements may result in our experiencing some intermittent positive feelings. We may experience a temporary sense of satisfaction and pride. We may enjoy more influence among our friends, associates and community.

But will our achievements sustain us with a lifetime of happiness? Or will we be constantly chasing our next happiness fix?

Some folks say all you have to do is put a smile on your face and decide to be happy. That may improve our attitude, enhance our interactions with others and attract more opportunities to us. These are significant changes, but they don’t increase our innate joy.

So what does is mean to be happy? First of all, “happy” is a feeling. And feelings by definition are transitory.

Feelings are physical sensations produced by vibrations that move through us. It’s only when we resist our emotions that they remain as negative energy in our bodies and our minds. In addition, by ignoring a emotion or pretending it isn’t there, we miss the insight they provide, deny a part of ourselves and numb ourselves to experiencing life fully.

Although feelings, themselves are simply vibrations, the way we perceive them, the meaning we attach to them are an expression of who we are and where we are on our individual life journey. Their purpose is to inform, communicate and guide us.

Feelings are the language of the Soul.

So what is our Soul trying to communicate? Our Soul is guiding us to that which we truly desire. But it’s not happiness which is produce by external events. What we truly desire is a Joyful sense of Being.

Being is internal. Our way of Being in the world colors all of our experiences, perceptions, choices and ultimately our feelings. Being includes our predominate attitude, outlook, expectations, beliefs, sense of self and connection to our Spirit When we are Being inspired, enthusiastic, and elated, we will sustain a sense of comfort and satisfaction no matter what transitory emotions, whether they are happy, sad, afraid, etc., we are feeling temporarily.

We are seeking to “be” Joyous, Free and Secure. When you abide in your innate Being, you are infused with a powerful sense of motivation, purpose and completion deep within. You are no longer dependent on outer circumstances for the temporary feeling of happiness or reward. You may encounter situations that cause sadness, but you will still Be at Peace.

This state of Being cannot be purchased by manifesting money. It cannot be achieved by manifesting success and It cannot be realized by accumulating power or influence.

How can you realize the state of Being ? By expressing and manifesting the true vision that your Soul holds for you.

How do you know what that is?

Listen to your Soul. The message is in the emotion.

Your Soul/Essence communicates to you constantly. It will give you feedback on every situation, every decision, every action, every thought.

Pay attention to your feelings. Don’t judge, deny or discount them. Wait for the call to action. But when it comes, do not hesitate or doubt. Do not analyze the possible outcome.

If you follow your Soul’s guidance, the results will take care of themselves.

You will feel the enthusiasm of living your Purpose.

And you will experience the wonder and thrill of expressing the unique aspect of the Divine Being that you are.

To Your Authentic Life,

Lauren Kennedy

July 23, 2008 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Black and Blue

By Lauren Kennedy – http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

One of life’s challenges and greatest rewards results from our relationships with others. But sometimes it feels like a balancing act. We have our personal responsibility to take care of ourselves, honor our own feelings and meet our own needs. We also have an obligation to extend compassion, understanding, honesty and support to our fellow beings.

We all have times when we feel our relationships and life is a struggle. And sometimes it feels like we are banging our head against the wall. Perhaps the issue is an obstinate person. Other times it may be an objectionable situation. But the harder we try to improve the circumstances, the more resistance we seem to encounter.

So what do we usually do? We push even harder. Then the negative thoughts and feelings really take off. The specifics can vary, depending on our personal tendencies and issues. But they generally fit into one of the following patterns.

We become angry. (We believe that the individuals involved are just ignorant, they are out to get us, they don’t care about us, they don’t want to admit that we are right, or they just want their own way. )

Some of us may feel defeated, powerless or victimized. (No one ever listens to me. I try to get things accomplished but everyone works against me. I don’t have the influence that others do.)

Or we feel inadequate. (What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone like my suggestions. I must not be important enough for anyone to take seriously.)

Whether we feel angry, powerless or inadequate, we all end up feeling frustrated and beat up by the time we’ve gone a few rounds with the complication, be it a person or situation.

The assumptions and opinions we have formed about the situation, based on our emotional reaction, may or may not be true. The problem is that we are trying to control or change people or circumstances. We then condemn ourselves and others when we don’t get our way.

Whenever I feel like I’m constantly walking into walls, I recognize that getting black and blue isn’t effective. I know that I have developed tunnel vision. And I am probably trying to change or control a situation. And guess what? We cannot expect to change or control anything but ourselves, and controlling ourselves can be a tall order at times.

I can hear all of your objections. Some of you may be thinking, “I know how to get what I want.” However, I am assuming that you are extending the other person the dignity of free will, honesty, accurate information without hidden agendas and below the belt emotional hijacking.

Neither am I suggesting resignation, blind acquiescence or self defeating capitulation. Consequently, the only real option that we have, short of picking up an automatic weapon or resorting to extortion, is to adjust our own perspective, choices, attitude, beliefs and behavior.

Perhaps these two examples from my own life will clarify this point.

My children have the tendency to drop their coats, shoes, book bags, etc., leaving a trail of debris on the floor. They frequently wait until 15 minutes before school to do their homework, complaining that I should have reminded them, (I guess 6 reminders the night before didn’t count), and they leave cereal boxes wide open, sitting in various locations around the house. . Of course this is unacceptable. But I don’t like to endure their tears and pain that giving them consequences always produce. Instead I planned to explain to them why they must do things differently. And I convinced myself that once they understood, they would then gladly comply. When that didn’t work, I decided perhaps I just hadn’t explained it well enough, so I tried again, and again.

Here’s the next example.

Growing up I longed for my father’s approval. I tried to be stoic because emotions upset him. I tried to be perfect. I made sure not to have fun until I had completed all my responsibilities because according to him “Life isn’t suppose to be fun.” I accomplished one goal after another. I twisted myself into knots trying to figure out how to act to get my father’s approval and respect. I only succeeded in becoming more and more depressed and desperate.

The light finally dawned and I realized that there was nothing that I could do to change my father’s perception. I could destroy myself trying to get his respect, or I could accept that he was unable to give me the approval I desired. I would have to change. I could choose to learn to give myself the validation that I sought from him. I could focus on the people who did think highly of me. I would have to re-discover who I truly was behind all the images that I presented for the benefit of others. And I would have to have the courage to experience and express my own truth, desires, and feelings. I had to become Authentic regardless of other people’s expectations and judgments.

In the situation with my children, I would either have to resign myself to clutter, stale cereal and poor grades, or I would have to suck it up, experience and process my feelings, and give them the appropriate consequences. Giving in to my discomfort with my children’s tears and distress, I neglected to give them appropriate consequences. The result was that I wasn’t fulfilling my job description as a parent, (teaching my children to be responsible and respect themselves and others).

They began to disregard whatever I asked them to do (or they experienced temporary hearing loss). I also had started to feel ignored and discounted because I had been disregarding my own feelings and my need to have an organized and tidy home. By permitting them to trample all over my boundaries, I had taught them how to treat me. And I didn’t like the result.

My sense of worth and importance are created by the way I treat myself. This includes establishing boundaries, valuing my own feelings and needs, and discouraging disrespectful behavior. The way I treat myself influences how others will treat me. More importantly, the way I treat myself impacts my sense of worth more than any other single issue.

Frequently our friends, associates and peers will behave in ways that upset us. We always have the right to be treated with respect. But we do not have the right to expect them to mold themselves according to our preferences. And we cannot assume that others, even our spouse, will always be aware of the specific words and actions that will distress us. We all perceive things differently. But if someone has said or done something that is unacceptable, it is our responsibility to seek a solution.

Upon reflection, we may conclude that we were over reacting due to having to fix our flat tire in the rain on the way to work. Or because it was the same phrase and tone of voice that our ex romantic partner used before they walked out the door with our drop dead gorgeous and wealthy replacement. In that case, we can attempt to feel grateful that they have made us aware of an issue requiring our attention. We then have the opportunity to choose to process and release the blocked, negative energy within us.

If we decide that the other person’s actions were unacceptable, often just bringing it to their attention will be enough. We simply express our feelings about the situation to them. Although this can be uncomfortable for some people, it is our responsibility to clarify how we want to be treated so we can release the negative emotions rather than allowing them to ferment into resentments and blame. Take note, however, it’s our feelings about the situation or the behavior that we share. Not our opinions, beliefs, or judgments about the individual or their actions.

For situations and/or individuals that may be resistant to our request, there is a formula for creating and delivering your message that I have found to be very effective.

Keep in mind that getting our desired outcome in any situation isn’t the measure of success. People with that mindset are easily tempted to rationalize that the ends justify the means. To be a person of character and integrity, we must make choices that are congruent with our values and principles. Regardless of the outcome, demonstrating character and integrity render you successful.

Remember, if you feel beat up from continuously running into the brick wall, stop, and look for the door.

To Your Authentic Life,

Lauren Kennedy

July 18, 2008 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

The Law of Attraction – the Root of New Evil?

by Lauren Kennedy – http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Do you desire a life filled with abundance! Do you want to experience abundant wealth, superior health and never ending opportunities. Have you searched for that one formula that will attract success and happiness?

For most people, the response is a resounding “Yes!”. And the Law of Attraction seemed to be the answer.

The Law of Attraction produces a life of sweet, abundant fruit, providing a source of nourishment for the hungry, hope for the desperate and empowerment for the downtrodden. The Law of Attraction is the model for equal opportunity, yielding impartial results when correctly applied, regardless if one is young or old, rich or poor, loved or hated, ugly or beautiful, saint or sinner.

Law of Attraction, thanks in part to the popularity of the Secret, has changed many lives. The Law of Attraction directs us to focus our incredible resources of imagination, belief, emotion and awareness, so we consciously improve our lives instead of unconsciously sabotaging ourselves. As we practice and persist at heightening our awareness, directing our focus, developing discernment in our choices and confidently taking action on new opportunities, we experience dramatic changes in our lives.

And through the Law of Attraction, our proficiency at aligning our inner resources is mirrored by the outer circumstances in our lives.

It is a wonderful arrangement. Where is the evil in that? Better yet, the Law of Attraction exists in an infinitely abundant Universe, negating the need for conflict, competition, judgment or separation. At last we have the ingredients for creating peace on earth.

So what has gone wrong?

For one, the Law of Attraction is about creating, not controlling our life. The Law of Attraction does not operate in a vacuum. There are other forces, other Universal Laws, that affect our lives. We can’t just exercise our arms and expect our entire body to be firm, trim and strong.

However, this article focuses another misconception. And unfortunately, this misinterpretation of the Law of Attraction can be potentially destructive and recently has been gaining momentum.

I have been receiving ever more email extolling the superior character of the rich and citing the deficient mindset of the poor. The inference is that the Law of Attraction supports this view.

Just as money can be used for good or evil, the law of attraction is being misused to separate rather than unite humanity. Included below are a few of the statements that I have recently received or read illustrating this point.

“The rich must separate themselves from associating with common people to protect their minds from thoughts of poverty and struggle.”

“If you have prosperity thinking, you will rightly feel nauseated by poverty and struggle.”

“Do not concern yourself with poverty or suffering, you have nothing to do with them.”

“Since poverty and suffering are a choice, we need not risk contaminating our thoughts by providing charity.”

“The rich enjoy the finer things in life because they hold ideas, beliefs and mindsets that are different than the diseased mindset held by the common people in society.”

“Do not read books or papers that give circumstantial accounts of the wretchedness of tenement dwellers or the horrors of child labor. Keep your awareness free of negative images.”

“The poor waste their money on thrift store trinkets, while the rich wisely invest their money in assets that will increase their wealth.”

“The poor do not need charity, they need inspiration. If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that they can become rich. Prove it by getting rich yourself.”

These statements appeared in various sources: recent emails, articles, promotions or ecourses. Disappointingly, they were written by some of the more successful internet gurus. And this perversion of the law of attraction is gaining momentum.

First let’s clear up some misinterpretations. The Law of Attraction is a Universal Law, on par with the Law of Gravity. It does not distinguish between saints and sinners. If you step off a tall building you will fall to the ground. The rate of your descent is determined by laws of physics, not your character. Similarly, the Law of Attraction will be equally effective whether one’s focus is humanitarian, materialistic, destructive, or neutral.

However, the emerging doctrine contends that the wealthy have effectively utilized the Law of Attraction due to their superb character, advanced mental abilities and superior control of their impulses. Circular reasoning has resulted in these troubling and faulty observations.

Successful implementation of the Law of Attraction does require a burning desire, dedication, disciplined focus and a strong belief in oneself or at least something greater than oneself, but only as it applies to the specific desire. Character and integrity are irrelevant. And equally insignificant is one’s lack of control, irresponsible behavior or scattered thinking in other areas of their life.

Here are two examples that illustrate this concept. Both individuals had a burning desire, determination, focus, and the belief that they could manifest their dreams.

Hitler was very adept at utilizing the law of attraction. He had a vision. He believed that he was meant to accomplish it. He devoted all of his attention and focus into achieving it. Hitler acquired wealth, power, and public devotion, so absolute, that he nearly succeeded in exterminating all the individuals he deemed inferior. His downfall began when his desire became so obsessive it interfered with his strategic judgment.

Many trains were needed to transport troops to the fronts to repel Allied attacks. Instead, he diverted them to transport the people he deemed to be inferior. He want to increase the pace of extermination of this second-rate populace before they contaminated the pure race. His deteriorating health completed his downfall by depleting his energy, weakening his focus and eroding his absolute confidence.

Joe Kennedy wanted money, power and prestige. He believed he could achieve it.

He focused his attention on acquiring this dream every waking moment. He created his financial fortune by underhanded dealings in the stock market before it was regulated. He associated with the elite and backed the winning politicians, regardless of their views, to secure a position of power. To remain in good standing with this powerful majority, he encouraged his sons to enlist in a war to which he was opposed. The ultimate prestige, having his son win the Presidency, was his greatest dream. He attracted this desire with the power of his will, fierce determination and a few huge donations to the powerful and persuasive mob.

Contrast Hitler and Kennedy with Gandhi and Christ, who were not financially well off by most standards. Which ones had character?

I grew up in family that was financially very well off, in a wealthy neighborhood, and socialized with wealthy and influential people. I have also had the opportunity to live with families in the projects. I saw no difference in the character, determination, discipline or mindset between the two groups. Except, perhaps, for one. The poor were more honest about their shortcomings.

We all do the best that we can at the time in whatever situation that we find ourselves. Therefore, my observations in this article are in no way directed at or a comment about the personal choices that anyone makes in their own life. I am not privy to another person’s situation, history, fears, needs or dreams.

People and circumstance change from moment to moment. Desires can become obsessions and acceptance can turn into apathy. We all experience situations that require us to choose between our priorities, desires and principles. Character is distributed evenly between the rich and poor. And only the exceptional few have that special quality to consistently demonstrate the courage of their convictions when something that they hold dear is at stake.

Therefore, my only intention is to express my deep concern over the opinions mentioned earlier. Respected individuals, with a reader following are influential. Comments that judge, separate, categorize, even unintentionally, may plant seeds of negativity and condemnation. And that can profoundly affect the lives of many people.

The next few paragraphs are devoted to pointing out the shortsightedness of the statements that I quoted at the beginning of this article.

If we chose to remain unaware of the plight of our human brethren, atrocities continue unabated. Awareness, attention and compassion are the catalyst to change. If people in the past had ignored suffering, there would still be no child labor laws. Slavery might still exist in this country as it does in other countries today. And women’s place would still be barefoot and in the kitchen.

The torture at Guantanamo would have gone unnoticed, unchecked, and unchallenged. The horrors Hitler perpetrated on the world went unnoticed for many years because no one cared or believed or wanted to get involved. “It had nothing to do with them.” Dictators control the media to maintain secrecy. Without awareness and compassion, they will not face interference from the people. Hence, they can continue the terror, abuse and rape of the country and its people, its poor people.

Dictators, no doubt, will champion this type of thinking. If we consciously choose to remain aware of the plight of the common man, dictators can rest assured that there will be no interference. Instead of wasting their time on propaganda, they can get on with their business.

Abused spouses have only recently seen any hope of improving their situation. Why? Partly because it was kept quiet and few people were aware of the problem. And partly because the prevailing attitude was that the abused either asked for it, deserve it, or had a choice to leave, never mind that they were penniless, unemployed, lacked job skills, afraid and alone, except perhaps for their dependent children and equally frightened children.

The suggestion that one should withhold charity and instead inspire the poor by amassing personal wealth, leaves me dumbfounded. People who are starving, their farms decimated by drought and their children’s bellies swollen from hunger will only be more acutely aware of their lack and failure in the presence of others who are championing their own personal success. Furthermore, it demonstrates a lack of compassion and an ignorance of human biology and psychology.

Unless our basic needs are satisfied – food, water, shelter, clothing – we are not likely to concerns ourselves with concepts. What would you do if your only means of providing for your family was destroyed by drought or pestilence, no relief in sight, your children starving and shivering with cold, and someone dripping with money approached you and said, don’t asks for handouts, think positive, visualize fertile farms and you will be prosperous. I know what I would tell them.

I concur, handouts without education is short sighted. And contrary to many people’s opinion, most people want to be self sufficient. Handouts tend to be demeaning. However, handouts are easier, a band aid to the larger issues. Actually addressing the underlying problems would require many committed individuals. To develop a lasting solution, one needs people with awareness and compassion who are dedicated to implementing a long term plan of action.

Although focusing on solutions is always the best approach, sometimes, understanding the cause is essential to craft an effective solution rather than a placebo. Unless the causes are resolved and the needs are met, any solution will be short lived.

Perhaps there is some truth to the saying “Birds of a feather flock together.” However, avoiding all interaction with the poor or struggling for fear of being contaminated by their diseased thinking, suggests a lack of confidence in one’s own mental fortitude. Since the wealthy are claiming to have a superior mindset, perhaps, they could direct their laser focus on thoughts that would attract immunity against contamination by the diseased mindset of the common man. With their claim of elite mental faculties, that should be a cake walk.

Naturally my personal experience has affected my view. There was a point in my life that I needed a few hand outs to get back on my feet. I also needed some free services and therapy. And my predicament was mostly due to my own misguided perceptions and poor choices. That’s hardly a situation that would elicit compassion from most individuals. But fortunately, there were some high minded people who helped me just the same. And had I not received this help, support and guidance, I would be in wretched circumstance or perhaps dead. But gratefully there were some aware people who noticed my plight. They also did not shun charitable organizations. Their concern for my struggle enabled me to change my life.

However, in my dire circumstances, homeless, hopeless and ill, simply telling me to think positive and believe in abundance, would have been meaningless to me, if not laughable. And under those conditions, I would not have had the opportunity to ever have heard about the Law of Attraction. My circumstances today, and the benefits that I can provide for others, are due to the people who believed that I and others like me were there concern. Their assistance enabled me to meet my physical needs. Only then did I have the luxury to discover, appreciate, understand and apply the Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction is a Universal Law and thus it is neutral. It works equally well no matter your character, no matter your requests. Just like money, it is neither positive nor negative. They both provide the freedom to shape your life as you desire. The Law of Attraction works for the person that has self serving or even destructive intentions as well as for the one who is pure of heart.

Keep in mind that the energy of your intentions and motives are even more powerful than your beliefs. And when they are self serving judgmental or indifferent, those energies are equalized by another Universal Law.

Perhaps you have heard of it.

It is the Law of Cause and Effect, better known as Karma.

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July 18, 2008 at 4:18 am 19 comments

Responsibility Revealed

by Lauren Kennedy – http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Being a responsible person has become synonymous with maturity, good character, dependability, and accomplishment. These are all positive traits. Traits that we want to claim. And we want others to view us as responsible people.

Since we were children we repeatedly heard about the importance of responsibility. As adults, we strive to be responsible. But what exactly does it mean to be responsible? In truth we frequently confuse responsibility with expectations. And we often accept responsibilities that do not belong to us. The result is that we overlook or deny large areas of personal responsibility, which in truth, is the only kind that exists.

From an early age, most of our parent’s impressed on us the importance of being responsible. That was the start of our confusion. To our parents being responsible really meant, “Do as we ask”, “Meet our expectations,” ” Make us proud” and most of all “Don’t embarrass or disappoint us.”

Unfortunately, most people mean exactly the same thing when they suggest that you should be responsible. “Meet my expectations.” “Avoid inconveniencing me. Do not cause me any discomfort.” And often, without realizing it, we comply. If we have learned to associate responsibility with our sense of worth, we will indiscriminately strive to leave no expectation unmet, be careful to cause no one discomfort, and toil keep everyone pleased. Everyone except, of course ourselves, for whom we are responsible.

This concept of responsibility is a certain formula for feeling inadequate, insignificant, unappreciated and stressed.

Here’s another one of our inaccurate concepts of responsibility.

A friend, family member or co-worker tells you that you are responsible for their pain, disappointment, failure, etc. Perhaps they are upset about a life choice that you made, non-compliance to their wishes, disapproval of your behavior or lifestyle. They claim that your decision is causing them discomfort or embarrassment. This blame game uses guilt as a weapon. A very effective form of manipulation for many of us.

However, no person is responsible for another person’s feelings. This is not a license to be callous, uncaring or self obsessed. But when we allow someone’s emotional needs to dictate our decisions, our life is no longer our own. The result is that we live a life that we did not plan. We become poisoned with bitterness and resentment or we struggle through with grim determination. And for that, we are responsible.

Being responsible is not: Meeting another person’s expectations.

Being responsible is not: Rescuing another person from their uncomfortable feelings.

So what does it mean to be responsible?

Responsibility is the ability to respond rather than react. It means that we consciously decide how we will think, speak, behave and live in way that are congruent with our goals, values and priorities. Responsibility is being accountable for our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being regardless of our current situation.

Living responsibly empowers us to express who we are and to experience the life that we choose to create. Establishing clear goals, values and priorities, enables us to make life enhancing decisions when faced with emotional manipulation.

Living responsibly requires awareness, self knowledge, determination and most of all courage. But the pay off is immense. When we live responsibly, we develop a sense of empowerment, clarity, self worth and personal freedom.

And those qualities are the stuff that makes dreams come true.

Can you disappoint another to be true to yourself. Can you bear accusations of betrayal and

not betray your own Soul?”

Anonymous

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July 18, 2008 at 3:34 am Leave a comment


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