Causing My Own Problems
Friday, August 21, 2015 - Author: Chris B.
We often don't realize it, but we live in a world of people who don't take responsibility for their own actions. We like to point the finger and blame others for our troubles, but the reality is that we often created our own problems. This was a difficult pill for me to swallow because nobody likes being the blame for anything. The great thing about acknowledging that I create my own problems was that I was able to discover more about my tendencies in order to live a happier life. When I know what problems I'm creating, I can work on fixing them.
It's Everywhere we Look
A great example of people not wanting to take responsibility is by simply watching pop culture and normal world news. Everyone is always trying to find someone to blame so they can be outraged about something, but the reality is that it has little to do with them at all. We spend so much time worrying about how other people should act and what we're supposed to tell our children that we're not taking responsibility for our lives.
We look at the world and think about how the world is doing things that we don't agree with, but we must remember what we can and can't control. When we see something in the news that we don't agree with that's happening in our communities or our country, we have to wonder what we did to prevent it. Did we vote? Did we take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening? If not, we weren't being part of the solution because we rested on our laurels. If we don't take action, we're somewhat responsible for the results that we aren't pleased with.
I'm Not Always Right
My entire life, I thought I was always right. I thought that I was the smartest, most capable person on earth. I could think my way out of any situation, and everyone should agree with me because my logic is infallible. This kept me in a negative state for a very long time. I stopped enjoying the company of others because they didn't think the same way that I did. It got to a point where I'd be upset with complete strangers who were having conversations about things that I didn't agree with.
I had to learn that I'm not always right and that I'm human. Humility is one of the best steps anyone can take towards leading a happy life. We have the ability to accept when we're wrong and learn from our mistakes. In doing so, we're also able to be enlightened by another person's point of view. All we have to do is have the willingness to be open minded when getting involved in any situation.
Taking Responsibility for my Actions
I come from a background of addiction, and I refused to take responsibility for it. I wanted to blame the world for my problems. I was broke because my job didn't pay me enough. I drank and used drugs because people were mean to me and didn't do what I wanted. The girls who broke up with me were terrible people because they treated me poorly and disregarded my feelings. These were my extremely selfish and self-seeking thoughts.
When I got sober, it was beat into my head that my best thinking got me exactly where I was at that point in my life. If you don't know what that means, it means that I made a lot of very stupid decisions. Did this make me upset? Of course it did. My pride and ego would flare up. I couldn't believe that anyone had the audacity to tell me that the way I was doing things was wrong. But the more I thought about it the more I realized how true it was.
I would call my sponsor and whine to him about how broke I was or how much I hated living with my mom as a 27 year old man after I had lived on my own since I was 18. He'd tell me that I put myself in that exact situation, and I didn't get it. He would always direct me to a line in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is one of my favorite quotes to this day:
"We made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt."
I started taking a pause before lashing out on people. Whenever someone upset me, I retraced my footsteps to see what events lead me to the situation that I was in.
Why was I broke? Well, I spent all of my money on drugs and alcohol, which lead to health problems that caused me to have to stop working. I was in debt with a variety of different banks and institutions because my priorities were to buy other things.
I hated living with my mom because even though she's been sober seven years, she was an alcoholic my whole life, so how dare she try to tell me what to do when I'm 27 years old. Why am I living with her? My addiction caused me to lose everything in my life and she was the only person who would take me in. I learned to be grateful that she even did this for me until I was able to get back on my feet after a year of sobriety.
Basically, early sobriety taught me to take responsibility for my own actions. I stopped placing the blame on other people when I clearly caused the havoc in my life. This allowed me to start looking at other aspects of my life and seeing what else I could work on.
My Love Life
If you're like me, you've had one or two bad relationships in your life. The first thing we want to do in a breakup is blame the other person. If only they would have worked harder or been a certain way the relationship would have worked. I learned that I pick people who are terrible for me and all of the signs are there from the beginning.
This isn't just me either. I've met a lot of people who see the signs of a bad relationship from the beginning, and they completely disregard them for the opportunity to be in a relationship. We hope that they'll eventually change for us, but this is very rare. There's also the occasion when our significant other is perfect in the beginning of the relationship, but then they change and we resent them for never going back to how things were.
Once I was able to start seeing that I was causing my own heartache by getting myself into these situations, I was able to be a lot pickier about who I decided to date. This also worked for me when it came to friendships. I stay around people who are positive and have traits that I aspire to have. If I decide to hang around people who are dishonest and love to gossip about me, then that's my own fault for keeping them in my life.
When you start taking responsibility for your own problems, you need to understand that this isn't meant to be negative self-talking. You should look at these situations with optimism. Some people go through their whole lives in the ignorance of not knowing what these bad things keep happening to them. By acknowledging that you are human and that you are fallible, you can begin working towards the solution instead of living in the same problems over and over again.