Gandhi said “nobody can hurt me without my permission”.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced unpleasant situations when we’ve been hurt by someone or something. The feeling of indignation is what we tend to feel first, as a victim to that person or event. But if we dig deep enough in the chain of events that led us there, we start to realise we have contributed to some of it as well by allowing these people to treat us as they did or letting things take the course they took. Maybe it is subconscious; maybe sometimes we’re not strong enough to put a halt to things earlier on or refuse to see what is right there in front of us. A lot of other emotions get in the way and tend to blindside us to the point that we forget ourselves what is acceptable and what isn’t. One thing is sure, we are in control and acknowledging our part of responsibility is the first step in taking control.
We are in control of who we are, what we do and how we react to things that happen to us. I don’t believe things happen to us for no reason. We invite them into our lives and yes it happens to make mistakes and to invite unpleasant or inadequate things or people. But acknowledging that we are in control allows us to get out of those situations much more quickly and smoothly instead of sulking into negative and counter productive emotions.
So, next time you feel resentful against something or someone why not acknowledge your part of responsibility and change the way you react to the situation?
Here’s my own example from last week: I can chose to be outraged at the bus for being 5 minutes late, angry at TFL for charging me so much that I haven’t got enough money on my oyster and stressed about the fact that I am going to be late to my 9 am meeting throughout the whole bus journey and angry at the world for making it rain after I left my umbrella on the bus! Or I can acknowledge the fact that if I hadn’t snoozed my alarm I might have made it on time. I can just take that responsibility, laugh at myself for trying to challenge myself on a Monday morning and appreciate the curls created in my hair after getting rained on (silver lining!). And instead of starting the week angry as a victim of the world’s uncontrollable events and coming into a meeting with a frown on my face I can just excuse myself for being late and let the day take the course I want it to take, starting with a positive!
What unpleasant event were you able to take responsibility for today? And more importantly, how did you manage to react to it differently?