Happiness Part 4
The message here is:
‘I will never blame anyone or anything for where I am in my life.’
NOT: my parents, my friends, my work colleagues, my teachers, my peers, my neighbours, my boss, the government, the bank manager, the bank rate, the weather, the weather forecasters, not anyone, nor anything, for where I am in my life.
I AM RESPONSIBLE – TOTALLY.
Let’s say you decide to go for a long drive, without any particular destination in mind.
You come to a junction or roundabout. You choose which exit to follow. You continue to the next junction or roundabout and, once again, you choose which road to take. After doing this a number of times, you may find yourself at a place you would rather not be.
Isn’t it obvious that you cannot blame anyone or anything for where you are? You drove there. You chose the route to follow at every intersection. You were in the driving seat.
This is just like life’s journey. You are responsible. If you can accept that, and I believe you must, then you’ll come to the realisation that from now on, you can decide to drive somewhere you do want to be.
It all depends on how your behaviour is controlled. It can be controlled externally or internally. You can decide to be controlled by external factors, such as other people’s opinions, especially parents and friends, other people’s rules, advertising, peer pressure and the controls of ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’, which are always laid down by others.
It can also involve approval seeking where you alter your behaviour to gain the approval of others. One of the problems with this is that you have to be ‘all things to all men’. Your opinions and behaviours must be flexible so that you can satisfy the requirements of different others. But, people who are always seeking approval are seldom popular. The word ‘creep’ comes to mind. We generally prefer the company of those who are ‘real’ people. We say things like: ‘I don’t agree with what he says, but at least you know where you stand with him’. ‘He’s his own man’. ‘You know that when he says something he means it’. ‘He’s not just saying that to curry favour’.
On the other hand, people who are internally controlled choose to decide how they behave. They listen to other people’s opinions; they examine the various ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ and decide whether or not they are relevant to them. They decide how to think, feel and act. They accept total responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions. They can do this because they have decided their own rules.
It’s a very good idea to draw up a personal code of conduct; to decide on your own set of rules; those that feel right for you, even if others don’t agree. Then, if you consistently behave in accordance with that set of rules, people have the security of knowing where you stand, and how you will respond to situations. This is particularly important in relationships.
None of this is to suggest that you should go out of your way to deliberately act in a rebellious manner. This is just another form of approval seeking. Just don’t behave in a particular way because you ‘ought’ to, unless it feels right for you. You may upset some people, but that is their choice, and remember, you can’t upset anyone; they upset themselves.
I am not suggesting that you explain this to them, at the time. They would only upset themselves even more.
Never feel the need to justify your actions. People often demand that we justify what we do, to their satisfaction. Don’t fall into that trap. Besides, words are seldom effective. It’s actions that count. If people don’t like the way you behave, they’ll either stick around or they won’t.
That’s their choice. If you adopt this way of deciding for yourself how to think, feel and act, you may find that you will lose some friends, but you will gain others, who appreciate a real person. As you change, you will no longer fit the role that others expect you to fill, but that’s not your problem. In the final analysis, an Internally Motivated Person must be true to him or herself.
There are three basic characteristics that define an Internally Motivated Person (IMP).
A fully-functioning person will:
1. Always act independently of the good or bad opinions of others.
If you accept total responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions, then the opinions of others are just that. Their opinions. They have nothing to do with you. What others think or feel about you is none of your business. You choose how to think, feel and act. And, most importantly, because you accept total responsibility, you also accept the consequences of your actions, without ever complaining about them.
2. Do what feels right, and remain unattached to the outcome.
Whenever you are faced with a particular situation, consult your body. If your intended action gives you a feeling of comfort, proceed; if discomfort, don’t. Your body is your greatest ally. It will always give you the right signal. It is your contact with your intuition, and your intuition knows the total situation, whereas your logical thinking mind has to operate on incomplete information: it can never know all the circumstances pertaining to any situation.
Be careful not to confuse intuitive knowledge with wishful thinking. Wishful thinking generally demands instant results and is usually based on the gratification of ego desires. It is judgemental of others and normally wants to be right and to prove others wrong.
On the other hand, intuitive knowledge is patient, non-judgemental and it not concerned with the gratification of sensory desires, nor with being proved right. When you’ve decided on your course of action, do it, then let go. Don’t spend your time worrying about the outcome of your actions. If you were right, then the outcome is assured.
As an old saying goes: ‘When ploughing, do it as well as you can, and don’t think about the harvest, it will take care of itself’.
3. Never seek power over others, and never allow others to have power over you.
This is freedom. If you decide to choose how you think, feel and act, and you certainly have that right provided you are prepared to accept the consequences of your actions without complaint, then by doing that, you won’t be allowing others to have power over you. But, if you demand that right, then you must accept that others have that right, too.
Internally Motivated People never seek power over others because they respect other people and want them to be internally motivated, too. There’s no competition here. They never need to compete. They have nothing to prove to others. They only have something to prove to themselves. In fact, they are not a threat to anyone but are often perceived as such.
By not blaming anyone or anything for where you are in life; by accepting total responsibility for everything you do, you may very well find that you no longer fit in, because to fit in, you have to play the game according to other people’s rules.
Most, if not all, associations of people, are tribal in their structure, however undefined that structure may be. Individuals are usually required to forfeit the right to individual decisions and actions, in the so-called best interests of the group as a whole. Someone who makes his own decisions is perceived as a threat to the harmony of the group. And they are probably right.
To be an Internally Motivated Person, you have to be prepared to leave the tribe and strike out on your own. It can be a lonely path, so before you decide to follow it, consider the consequences of this choice and accept responsibility for the outcome if you decide to follow that path. If you are going to be internally motivated, you will realise that you aren’t prepared to pay the price of fitting in; in fact, you won’t be able to.
Above all, never try to convince anyone else to follow your path. If they don’t want to, you’ll never convince them, and if they do want to, they won’t need convincing.
Don’t expect people to understand you, or what you’re doing. You can’t explain it. The only ones who will understand you are others who are like you, and you don’t need to explain to them.
The path of no blame and acceptance of responsibility is not easy, but then nothing worthwhile is, and if this is your path, then you’ll know that whatever the price, it’s worth paying.