Archive for June 16th, 2009

June 16, 2009

Take up your life….? (Becoming more personally responsible for your own life)

by Rod Smith

You frequently write: “steel yourself” and “hold onto yourself” and “take up your life.” What do you mean?

Take up your life

Take up your life

Your problems cannot be “solved” or “fixed” by reading this or any column. In fact, they will not be “fixed” even if you read this column, watch Dr. Phil daily and visit a therapist on a weekly basis. These would be, at best, helpful catalysts. At worst, you’d be wasting a lot of time and using yet another means to avoid facing your issues.

The “answer” to your life’s issues (if there is one – you might have to go with an approximation), no matter how large they may appear to you, or how trivial they may appear to others, always rests first with you. Healing begins when you gather up your metal, brace yourself for change, and decide to “take a hold of yourself” and address head-on the problems and complexities you face. “Steeling yourself” is gathering your strength (even if it is minimal) to do what you must do to begin your own process of recovery, healing, or untangling from unhelpful entanglements.*

Even if you have been a victim, grew up in severely adverse circumstances, and both your parents were alcoholics while you were destitute and hungry, your healing and maturity pivots, not on more sympathy, more empathy, or more understanding. it is not “out there” in some book you are yet to read, or on some website you are yet to discover, some guru you are yet to run into, or on some lover you are looking to meet. It is ALWAYS dependent on your acknowledgment of your role in how your life has unfolded (your response to whatever has happened, is currently happening, and will happen to you) and will continue to unfold. It is dependent on you shedding yourself of ALL “victim thinking” and of ALL blame. It is ALWAYS dependent on you taking personal responsibility for your decisions as much as you are able at THIS time (now, today!). This is what I mean by “take up your life.”

I am very aware of this being an unpopular message in an age and a time when “quick-fixes” are offered at every click of the mouse, pointing of the remote, and book shelves abound with every Tom, Dick, and Sally’s offer to deliver you into a perfectly fulfilling life. Sorry, it just doesn’t work like that. Until you become your own “Knight in shining armor” you might always remain a “damsel in distress,” albeit an insightful one!

* For me, a helpful metaphor is to imagine a diver on the edge of a high diving board. He or she STEELS him or herself before taking the leap.