“Who stops us from being free? We blame the government, we blame the weather, we blame our parents, we blame religion, we blame God. Yet who really stops us from being free? We stop ourselves.” – Miguel Ruiz
As I talked about in a previous article, the only way to have real power in our lives is to take responsibility for them – to own and even claim whatever happens in the situations we are dealing with.
That doesn’t mean that we can control everything that happens to us, that everything that happens is our fault, or even that we condone all that other people do or say. These statements stem from notions of should, good, fair, and bad… a world we leave when we explore the true nature of responsibility.
The kind of responsibility I’m talking about is not about should, good, or bad. It is not about fair or unfair. It is not about right and wrong.
It is about accepting things the way they are, and the way they are not. Nothing more.
If you look at what most of us do, however, we not only don’t accept… we come up with a whole drama around what it means that things happened a certain way: We are who we are because our mother did this bad thing… we don’t have what we want in life or love because of that wrong and unfair situation. (Just as many of the singers I work with say they never got a record deal because they didn’t have a lot of money or know anyone).
Certainly, what happens to us in life has an impact. But to blame other people and life for why things aren’t working after– and often, long after– the fact is not about dealing with the impact. In these situations, we are allowing blame to disempower us by using it as an excuse to not fight for what it is we say that we want, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what people do, regardless of what happened and happens to us.
When we accept all that has come before– that it simply is– we cut the cord of “because.” Instead of not having a relationship because of someone or something, we simply don’t have a relationship… period. Or a job. Or a record deal.
Through acceptance, we not only clear the past, but all of the reasons and the excuses that have prevented us from moving forward and getting what we want as well. We’re then in a position of tremendous power, one in which we are free to take inspired and relentless action in our careers, relationships, and lives until we either get what we want or feel at peace that we have given it our absolute best shot.
You say you want a great job or relationship and will do anything to achieve them… Well, what does anything mean? Up until what point? How able are you to let go of the ideas, beliefs, and pride that keep getting in your way? How long and how hard are you willing to fight for what you want? In the face of how many rejections and criticisms? In the face of what circumstances, challenges, and obstacles?
A fantastic career, a great relationship, personal fulfillment… these things are available to each of us… and they often take more effort, time, and patience than we bargained for. Which is why responsibility and acceptance are so important. Without them, blame, excuses, and reasons wait right at our door, the perfect trump cards when things start to seem impossible.
Jennifer Hamady is a voice coach and psychotherapist specializing in technical and emotional issues that interfere with self-expression. She is the author of "The Art of Singing" heralded as a breakthrough in musical and personal performance.