If you are like me and read a lot of news, then there is a lot to be sad about. Massive data breaches – Yahoo, Equifax, Facebook -, shootings at schools and work – Parkland Fl 2018, Google 2018, San Francisco UPS and many more -, Teen suicide, Traffic incidents, Workplace discrimination, Police violence – the list is endless. These incidences have come at us like a tsunami and seem so big, leaving us all feeling helpless and small.
Every day, I go through one of the seven stages of grief. For a while, I felt stuck between the steps of Denial and Depression. I had even resigned myself to live in a dark world, waiting for either the world to end or my life to end. It was the most dismal place one can find oneself, helpless, small and powerless to affect change.
But here is the thing, the light that one finds in the darkest places of one’s being has the power to illuminate the whole world. The light came, seemingly out of nowhere, in a statement I read somewhere online, “You are not sitting in traffic, you are traffic.” This statement for me was the realization that I like most of us, have taken no responsibility for everything that is going on in our families, workspaces, communities, societies and the world at large.
We have been living a life in which we do not take responsibility for anything; We have just let things happen. We have for far too long let situations dictate the trajectory of our lives. We have surrendered our power and held someone/something/some company/some institution/some government etc. accountable for our situations and our lives. We feel entirely justified in our reasoning and have good cause to blame, but we scarcely recognize that it in these reasons and blames that we surrender our power. This loss of power spans the entire spectrum of our being. In our personal lives (romantic interest, marriage, children, parents, friends, etc.) In our professional lives (career ambitions, types of careers we choose, how we relate to our peers and superiors, the projects we pick, the quality of our work, etc.). In our contributions to our communities, societies and the world (our commitment to the cause we care about, what we can imagine we can build and what we create). We limit ourselves in all aspects of our lives and being by not taking responsibility. Personal responsibility.
We surrender our power every time we make statements such as:
These are all statements I have made or thought. How about you?
- My marriage is not working, because my husband/wife is an a**hole
- My career is not working, because I have an incompetent boss
- My kids are not performing at school, because the teachers and the school don’t challenge my kids
- My commute is killing me because I am sitting in traffic for hours
- I have no control because Facebook, Equifax, Yahoo, etc. don’t look after my data
- The homeless problem in the city is out of control, why can’t the city do something?
- I can’t believe the people voted for Trump, and they are driving this country down
- Children these days are selfish and materialistic
- Climate change is real, but the government wants to do nothing about it
- I am not included in the lunch group, because they are mean people
- We did not make the sale numbers, because marketing/sales/product/operations sux at our company.
Do you see how this is stripping off your/our power?
I have been trying the following ways of saying, viewing and doing things, and it has left we accepting that I am not perfect and powerful at the same time. In this space here is how I approach some the above statements (still working on others), and they have left me powerful and in control of my experience of my world, people, and worker.
Claiming Your Power!
- My marriage is not working, because I cannot accept my husband/wife as he/she is
- My career is not going the way I would like it to, and I will work on figuring out how I can have a more significant impact
- My kids are not performing in school, and I need to spend more time helping them catch up
- My data online is my responsibility, and I will learn how I can protect myself
- Homelessness is a problem in my city, and I will work with the city to solve this problem
- Climate change is real, and I will do my part to protect my planet – I will not buy products that are not eco-friendly or produced in an eco-friendly way
- I will try to understand why people voted for Trump and try to do something about it
- Children these days may seem selfish and materialistic. But they learned from us, and we need to see what we can do different/better.
Once I took responsibility and started to act and do things from a space of personal responsibility for me and the world, I feel powerful. I am no longer the side effect of situations. I am now the cause in every matter pertaining to my life and my world. It has also left me being able to trust and ask for help when I need help, and more ready to help and support others.
Embrace responsibility, reclaim your power.
Post Blog Notes:
Every institution, organization, community, company, group, etc. are all made up of people. I dream of a world where every person holds him/herself responsible for his/her life and the world around.