As a new blogger and long time reader of blogs, I have seen, over and over, what I shall call the formulaic “How to…” posts on how to do life better/happier/more fulfilled. I’m sure you’ve seen them as well. They’re everywhere right now, “How to Live the Life of Your Dreams in 5 Steps” and the like.
I found them interesting until just now – like literally, just this past minute. So what happened?
For some reason, as I was reading the latest and greatest Guide to Getting Life Right, I found myself thinking, “Oh! I’m gonna read this and then I’ll….”
HOLD THE PRESS!
That’s where my thought came to a screeching halt. I was about to tell myself that once I read the article, I would magically know how to be happy.
A flash of self-directed anger ripped through my mind for thinking so foolishly when I’ve worked so hard at letting go of this limiting belief – the belief that something outside of me will give me the answers or make me happy. But I also recognize that I interrupted the pattern before it could fully hypnotize me. Progress.
Here’s the thing: if we could really conquer life’s problems and hardships by following a set of steps, we’d have world peace, love, and joy; no problems. Oh, and unicorns would fly around shitting glitter and rainbows. Yeah, that. We’d have a veritable Utopia.
There would be no suffering because, seriously, who WANTS to suffer? Who wakes up in the morning and says, “You know, I think I want to have the shittiest day ever today. What can I do to make that happen?” No one. Ever. Got suffering? Open your book of steps and find the perfect formula to match the situation and be all better. wipe hands clean
But there is nothing formulaic about life. I’ve grown tired of the insinuation in these articles that “all you have to do is ______ .” That’s it. It’s easy!
I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone who writes these types of posts. I’ve read many and found them rather thought-provoking. But that’s all they were: thought-provoking. Not a single one actually gave me the tools to carry out the advice being given.
Telling someone to “let go of toxic resentment” sounds really good…on paper. Until you try to do it. Then you realize that you don’t have the first clue how (if you could, you already would have). Saying “Give yourself permission to ____ (fill in the blank).” is no more helpful. Or, “Be courageous and brave…” Humph! Strike three. I don’t know about you, but I’m generally left nodding my head in agreement as I read, but still at a complete loss about how to do it, whatever ‘it’ is.
Knowing what to do and how to do it are two completely different beasts and something that most authors fail to address. You know you would be best served letting go of resentment. But HOW do you do that? Someone explain that. But it’s not an easy concept to articulate. I’m sitting here wondering how I would approach it myself and I’m drawing a blank.
So what is the secret?
Are you ready? It’s the most difficult simple thing you will ever learn about life: Your life is 100% your responsibility, no exceptions, no excuses. People and events are not the cause of your woes or why you can’t get ahead.
Get this and you hold the master-key to living the life of your dreams. Without this, no amount of advice will ever help you get where you want to go. I know, I just gave a step with zero how-to. Not very helpful, am I?
Sadly, I can’t tell you how to do it any more than the articles I mentioned, and that’s really frustrating to me. All I know is that when you’re sick and tired of life not going your way, you’ll be faced with a choice to step up and grab the bull by the horns, and you’ll either take it or you won’t. Some people never do; they die blaming the world or regretting their choices.
There’s nothing easy about the road of responsibility. It takes commitment and stick-to-it-ive-ness, digging deep, and being willing to face the good, the bad, and the ugly about yourself. It’s the ultimate Catch 22 – the good news is “they’re” (the world at large) not responsible for your life. The bad news is “they’re” not responsible for your life. You’re responsible for your own life, and thank god for that! If your life was up to outside people and circumstances, then that means you wouldn’t have much say in it. And that would suck.