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Awhile ago, I was seeing some craziness unfold, in real-time. Someone had sent me what is, officially, the Nastiest Email I’ve Ever Been Sent. It was an email loaded with the clear intention of cruelty and unkindness, so much so that within only a paragraph, I was clear that I didn’t want to read the rest of it (and to this day, I never have).
That day, I connected to something that had been hinting of its own existence, for some time: “This is not mine.”
You might be like I was: Earnest. Committed. Willing to own the mistakes and Do The Work.
And then crazy shit happens in your life, and you start with the questions: “How can I take radical responsibility for that?” or “How did I manifest that?” or “What are the choices that I should be making differently?”
These are great questions to ask. The path from victimhood to self-efficacy is paved on those questions.
But then there’s this question, which I hope will land with a ker-thunk in your soul:
What if sometimes that crazy shit that happens isn’t…yours?
The Co-Existence of the Universe
Again: questions that ask you to assess your own responsibility and to account for your own poor choices are excellent questions to ask. I wish more of the world asked them, instead of trying to lay fault for things at someone else’s feet.
Also, I’m willing to say that a majority of the time, the crazy stuff of life probably is yours.
Or perhaps I’ll speak for myself—the majority of the time, when my life isn’t working? It is straight-up, no-question, without-a-doubt, me.
But we’re all bouncing around in the Universe together, here. It is inevitable that you will inadvertently suck someone’s chaotic tail wind, without even realizing it. There’s a lot going on in the cosmos that can’t be explained, and—dare I say it?—there’s even a certain amount of narcissism in assuming that each of us as individuals is some kind of epicenter of the manifestation of the Universe.
In other words, maybe sometimes we try to make the crazy shit that happens about us as individuals, because then we feel like we have a little corner of control.
Personal Responsibility: This Isn’t Mine
Sometimes, hustling to take personal responsibility isn’t so very…responsible.
Sometimes, the most powerful thing you can do is accurately identify when someone else’s brand of crazy has nothing to do with you.
Bottom line? Do all the self-help you want, but understand that you aren’t going to self-help yourself out of dealing with people who are behaving in a way that’s kinda nuts.
There is no amount of goodness that you could ever be, to save someone else from their own wounds.
That doesn’t mean write them off, forego compassion, or stop your personal work. Please, do live in the light! Please, do heal your stuff and take personal responsibility for your own integrity.
Just be conscious of those times when you’re simply bumping up against someone else’s stuff, and taking it on, and it’s just not yours.
Try whispering it, three times: This isn’t mine. This isn’t mine. This isn’t mine.
Your body will tell you the truth. If you’re trying to run away from taking responsibility, chances are you’ll feel that low-grade, kinda-guilty, emmmmm maybe I’m trying to squirm out of something kind of a feeling.
But if you notice that you feel relief, and that the words feel like an arrow aimed true, then you know: it isn’t yours, it never was, and it’s not your responsibility to fix.
You do you.