Choices are powerful. Everything that happens to us throughout the course of our lives is a direct result of the choices we make. Our reality today is a culmination of the choices we have made in the past. When we take responsibility for ourselves and our lives, we are empowered with the ability to choose. If we don’t like who we are or the situation we find ourselves in today, we can choose to change our circumstances.
On the topic of choices and responsibility, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“When we talk about taking responsibility for our lives, we must clarify what we mean by responsibility. The addictive meaning of the word responsibility means accountability and blame. When women accept that meaning, they cannot bear to take responsibility for their lives or to see other women do so, because, they assume, taking responsibility means taking the blame for where they are and who they are. Unfortunately, this attitude puts us in the position of being a victim and robs us of our power.
It is only when we accept that we do have choices, and we exercise those choices, that we can reclaim our lives. Inherent in this reclaiming process is owning the choices we have made (all of them!) and moving on. Thus we are not blaming ourselves for our lives; we are claiming them and owning them so we can take our next steps.”
To take responsibility can be scary, because it feels like taking blame. While blame is associated with feelings of guilt, shame, and regret though, responsibility is associated with ownership, empowerment, and confidence. Rather than wallow in the past, we can take charge of our future and move forward with dignity and respect. We understand when we take responsibility that the power of our lives is in our hands. We have control of the wheel, and we can determine our fates—for better or worse. Often in my experience, it is those who feel they don’t have a choice, who blindly wander through life without ever consciously choosing, who find themselves in the worst situations. When we reclaim our lives by making choices with eyes wide open to the consequences of our own power, when we consciously choose the direction of our lives, we typically find ourselves not far from where we aim to be. Why give up your power of choice to play the victim? We all have the innate ability to choose our own futures, and that is an amazing gift. We must accept responsibility in order to claim it.