I used to be one of those types that liked to blame other people. How I was feeling, what I was doing, it was all based on what someone else had done. I had a boyfriend in my 20s that didn’t treat me particularly well and it had a major effect on the next year or two of my life after we broke up. My mindset was basically, “I got cheated on! I got disrespected! I gave away part of myself and he threw it down the toilet!” So that gave me ample ammunition to go into the world and treat myself, and others, exactly the same way. But it’s okay, I would tell myself. It’s justified! I could blame him for my actions and I didn’t have to take any responsibility for my own.
I’m a bit ashamed to say this continued on a little bit. I blamed my workplace for my unhappiness in my career. I felt disappointed by friends who didn’t quite live up to my expectations. And I think this is really normal for so many people! We have this ability to shun personal responsibility and blame the world around us for our problems. It makes it so much easier! It meant I didn’t have to leap out of my comfort zone or face some unpleasant parts of myself that I wasn’t willing (or ready) to face.
And so time went by. I moved on, I had other relationships, life happened. And one day, while in the middle of another relationship drama, I stumbled across a book called The Four Agreements, written by a very wise man called Don Miguel Ruiz. I gotta tell you, this book had a major impact on me. It was a mammoth light bulb moment where the clouds parted and I could see right through to the very truth of the matter. The sentence was, “Don’t Take Anything Personally”. So simple, but wow, such an impact. Don says, Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. Don’t take anything personally because you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.
And so I realised I had been taking everything personally. What my boyfriends did, what my boss did, what my friends did, everything. And with this realisation came the truth, which was that I could actually choose whether to be affected by these things! What an unbelievably empowering thought! The way I feel and act is completely in my own control and no one else’s. So I took control. I became responsible for my own happiness, my own path, my own actions. I realised that by holding onto these past events I was hurting no one but myself.
You are more powerful than any other person on this planet. Amazing, right? And that’s because every day you get to look out over this complex world of ours and make all the decisions that affect you. If someone does something to hurt you, you have the choice to let them get to you, take on their problems and carry those around with you, or you have the choice to just let it go. You can quit your job and find one you love instead. You can forgive the past and open yourself up to receive the future. There is absolutely nothing in your way, except the limitations you are telling yourself in your own mind.
Happiness is a choice! And it’s a choice you have to make consciously and deliberately. What can you choose to let go of today? How can you lighten your load a little?
With love and wellness