Realising your accountability for your choices will shift your world
“A man is whole only when he takes into account his own shadow.” – Djuna Barnes
If you embody nothing else, take this in; choice is a superpower. You choose how you think, speak and act, the three only things you control in life. Every choice activates a chain reaction of consequences for which we can only be accountable for our choice. However, being accountable for our choices does not equate to apportioning blame, it means you are aware of your choices and accept them and, if needed, forgive yourself for making them.
One malady coming from ignoring our own choices and accountability is the “Actor-Observer” cognitive bias. This bias is when we blame all “bad” experiences on outside factors and attribute all “good” things to ourselves. When we avoid accountability we give up our power to direct our life where we want it to be and to the experiences we want to have. Being accountable means taking back our power and understanding what we can control (listen to the podcast Control to gain a deeper understanding of this concept). The beautiful paradox is that, understanding that we can’t control our external environment and turning our attention inwards to the three things we can control; thoughts, words and actions, gives us full control of our journey.
Attributing blame outside ourselves only result in frustration, conflict, division, separation, and ultimately, lack of resolution to the challenge. With accountability we allow ourselves to see the bigger picture, we can uncover and heal our core wounds, start seeing ourselves in others, move into a state of flow, understand our role and the the role of others in our lives, and approach our experiences with compassion, acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude.
Realising that we have a choice is an awakening. The choice is not necessarily as to what we do or how others see us, but rather how we perceive our experiences. One of the principles in Buddhism is the pursuit of non-attachment/non-judgement. So, your choices lie in how you perceive your experience and how you you are going react to it. We also have choice in how we react to choices we have made that lead to the outcomes of our experiences; it is we who judge them “good” or “bad”. Especially when we have experienced trauma, reconciling that our choices had an impact on the outcome, is a tough pill to swallow, not to mention forgiving ourselves and others and finding the gift of a lesson in it. Again, we go back to non-judgment, whether someone chooses to find the gifts and learn from trauma or to continue to suffer under the weight of victimhood, we accept their journey for what it is, but that is also a choice that we make as individuals.
Often, when we look back at our choices, we tend to become hesitant to make choices, it can paralyse us, because we might mainly have made choices that led to challenges. However, the more work we do on ourselves and listen to our inner guidance, we will find flow and peace in our choices, because we accept them and their outcomes as purposeful. Remember though that before you are given validation for that you can trust, you need to embody trust and have faith in that your journey has lead you to where you are so that you are optimally prepared to move forward to where you are going.