Throughout my teenage years, I used to blame everyone for where I was, physically and mentally.
Nothing was ever my fault.
I blamed my parents, my teachers, my genetics, my neighbors’ dog — everyone was responsible for what was happening to me — everyone, except myself.
I believe there is a certain age up until you can still use the excuse that you were raised like this!
People like to wrap themselves up and never leave the warm blanket of being poorly raised. Some make it sound like it’s an unescapable curse.
But unless you’ve stolen from Tut’s tomb… you should be safe.
I understand having a hard time growing up. I did. Hopefully, it wasn’t that tough that it bent my reality permanently and irreversibly.
People who’ve had (overly) abussive parents are not the majority of us — and most of us won’t become abusive parents (Jordan Peterson proved this mathematically in 12 Rules for Life, if you don’t find me a reliable source).
So, when do we stop blaming our parents/circumstances/the fate for what’s happening to us?
Everything we do is a choice
I have come to see many people who like to put responsibility on everyone but themselves; and it was easy, ’cause again, I was one of them.
When things go sideways, it must be fate; when they go up, it must be God; when they’re going down, we go to church (or start scrolling Reddit).
No one ever likes to admit that, maybe, just maybe, they made a wrong choice.
We try to find explanations for things in every f-ing place in this world. We’d descend in the Mariana Trench if we could find some guidance. We’d even go to Pluto, for that matter. But we will do anything, and I say anything, but go inside ourselves — and change.
We never… oh, okay, we rarely stop to question whether we are at fault for what’s happening to us. How many times have you heard people take the blame? Or start reflecting on their past?
Most of the time, we like reflecting on other people’s troubles because the emotional toll is easier to bear. And yes, it’s quite beneficial to learn from the mistakes of others. But we really should stop sparing our ego from all this potential for self development.
Reflect. Question. Challenge.
Your choices are all you are.
Every second you live, you make a choice.
By doing this, you build your future.
Your parents made lots of choices raising you like this. You made lots of choices getting to where you are now. Choices are inevitable.
Therefore, you must prepare for them. We must live an examined, conscious life.
Oh, you overreacted to something today because that’s who you are?
Exactly! You made a choice to overreact because you’ve never spent enough time to think about the fact that, maybe, you had anger mangement issues. You choose not to treat your problems, so, yeah, that’s who you are.
Not making a choice is a choice. Refusing change is still a choice.
No one can make the necessary adjustments in your life for you. It must come from inside. You can blame others for who you are, but you have to take responsibility for who you’re becoming.
“Alright — you say — but I still have things going on in my life that I can’t control, or change.”
Of course; you can’t prepare for every challenge you’re going to face.
But you know what you can do? You can change how you react to it.
There is a story I like, which is too long to share here; but, in short, it is about a farmer whose horse— his only horse — ran away and everyone loses their minds about it, telling him he was a fool for not selling it, and now he’s going to die from poverty. The farmer tells them not to put a label on the situation so quickly and just see it as it is. Fifteen days later, the horse comes back home with a dozen more just like him, and, of course, people start wondering how was this possible. The man smiles.
The same thing happened to his son next: he fell off a horse, broke one of his legs and everyone started yelling that the farmer now has a crippled, useless son. The farmer reacted just the same. Then, the war came, and all the boys were sent to fight, all except the farmer’s son.
(please, do read the story, don’t leave with the crime I’ve just commited)
You see, not doing something may be the best choice sometimes. Letting things unfold for a moment can prove to be a valuable lesson, especially if you’re unsure about the future.
If you don’t trust the way you choose, then trust the way you react.
In essence, we can change two things:
- how we see the world;
- how we react to it.
But to change these two things, we must change a lot else on the way.
Before you feel the urge to react quickly, just take a second. A second may be the difference between rage and tranquility.
Change is hard. Choosing good over bad is not always easy. But if you can’t make the right choice for you, do it for someone else. You’ll find that doing good is almost always rewarded with positivity.
The right choice may not be the best one at first sight, or it may not bring you peace right away. Just like a cold shower — it’s not necessarily enjoyable, but it brings lots of benefits.
So be more aware of your choices. Start micromanaging them, if you have to. Cut this endless, vicious cycle of blame that’s clouding your cognition. Take control of your life and watch it change.
Speaking of change, why not start with yourself? I’m pretty sure you’ll find out that you won’t want to adjust anything else if you succeed.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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