Self-Responsibility – Why Bother?

One of the scariest things in life is to watch a loved one struggle to help themselves. It doesn’t matter what situation they are in – addiction, financial dependency, abuse, in every case, the observer knows that unless the loved one chooses to make different decisions, nothing will change. This can be excruciatingly painful to watch, and the temptation to rescue them – overwhelming.


We all have moments in life when a decision we make determines the direction of the rest of our life. Unfortunately, not always we realize the decision’s importance in that moment. Often, we are surrounded by those who love us who warn us against the possible consequences and yet, we still choose to do what we think is right.  


How heartbreaking it is to watch someone we love miss opportunities, turn away those who love them, waste their talent. How maddening it is to try to figure out an absolute best combination of techniques, methods, environments, medications, vitamins, and therapies to help them.


Having lost hope to change things for them, we often pronounce these loved ones lost and beyond repair. We place them and their lives in a box and call it our personal failure. We stop talking about them with others, we try not to think about them, and very often, we close our hearts to them.


We have all the reasons in the world to close our heart. After all, have they not rejected our honest, loving help? Have they not betrayed our trust again and again? Have they not lied, cheated, and manipulated? Have they not embarrassed us before our families and communities?


If this is where you are and your heart is full of pain and disappointment, I invite you to look at the situation from a different angle. I invite you to practice the art of self-responsibility. Just as we want our loved one to take responsibility for their life, we must find courage to admit to ourselves that we do not have control over their life or choices. We must surrender this notion once and for all and turn our gaze to a higher power in their and our life. The higher power doesn’t live in the sky, it lives in our heart.


It doesn’t matter if the loved one doesn’t believe in a higher power and it doesn’t matter if we ourselves have doubts. The only thing that matters is how we decide to feel about our loved one. As long as we allow this person to remain in the safety and loving warmth of our heart, our love will remain available for them. The warmth and care we feel in our heart will support our loved one on their journey even if we are physically not there with them. It will give them strength because deep inside, they will feel they have a safe haven to return to – if and when they are ready.


Self-responsibility is a high and hard road to take – may you and your loved one be surrounded with Grace as you travel.

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