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Am I Responsible for My Own Life? What is my part in what has gone wrong?

By Arline Rowden

It’s a part of the human condition to question what’s going on in life. Am I a victim of circumstances, my family and cultural conditioning, or do I really have power to create change in my own life? What is my responsibility for what is unfolding in my life? These are huge controversial questions to be pondered by people who are awake and on their own spiritual path.

No one, including myself, can or should answer those questions for others. But at times it might be helpful to hear how another person is approaching these issues. It might give others food for thought. So I’m going to share some of my journey through these issues and my best opinion at this time.

I’m not proud to say that for many years I did consider myself a victim in life. I’ve had my share of relationships and experiences that did not make me happy. There were many times when I thought it was pretty much someone else’s fault. If others would just treat me well I’d be okay. I was a nice person, right? I only said or did something mean spirited as a reaction to others treating me badly, right? I was so sensitive that I felt I had to protect myself in the world.

Questioning has always been a big part of my life. I have read countless books, attended more classes & support groups than I can remember and had sessions with therapists and spiritual teachers over many years. Meditation and energy work (such as Reiki, chakra balancing & acupressure) have given me tools for self-exploration. I love this quote by Lao Tzu “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”

Studying about the etheric, emotional and mental energy bodies has provided a different perspective about myself. I’m so much more than my dense physical body. I’ve learned that just emoting doesn’t release emotions. Emotions can get stuck within me. Meditation and energy work can help to unstick them. But if I let go of emotions without understanding why I was holding on to them, they can just come back and get stuck again.

I studied about the instinctual nature’s influence on our emotional nature and was amazed at how the instinct can actually cloud our ability to see clearly when it’s afraid it won’t survive. Then it runs a subconscious program instead of allowing our thinking consciousness to decide what to say or do in the situation. These reactions can damage relationships.

When I looked back on my life and the painful situations that I had experienced I started to see some patterns in them. Recognizing patterns in life can be very helpful in healing. I pondered why so many situations had similar themes to them. Could there be something inside of me that drew these same types of experiences to me over the years? What was my part in what went wrong in relationships?

Perhaps I had emotional wounds or faulty beliefs which created an imbalance inside of me. If my energy was unbalanced, it would try to achieve balance. It might do that by drawing to me a situation that would give me another opportunity to understand why I was holding onto the emotions or the belief that was unbalanced. So the good news is I would have another opportunity to heal. The bad news is that I would need to go through another similar experience which might not be very much fun. But if I understood it this time, I could let go of all of the related energy and find more balance in my life.

I’ve learned that when I start to feel emotional, although something outside of myself may have triggered the feelings, the cause is inside of me. So I try to remember to give myself a time out to get in touch with what I’m feeling inside and support myself in that process. Once I have identified what’s going on inside of me, I might share about what I experienced with others who were involved, if that feels appropriate.

Through my journey of self-discovery and healing, I’ve come to accept that I am responsible for my own life. I do have a part in what goes wrong in relationships and situations. At times, I’m not happy about knowing that I’m not a victim in life but it does give me power in my own life to make changes. And I’m learning to accept this wisdom more each day.

The serenity prayer can be very helpful with this process. The bottom line is that I cannot change others but I can change myself on many levels. So I’ll end with sharing that prayer.

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

You can read Arline Rowden’s Emotional Hurricanes article or some of the other articles about emotions on her website www.ReikiWisconsin.com

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