Freedom and Responsibility
How you need to take responsibility to have real freedom
“Look what THEY did to ME!!!”
An old girlfriend recently shared with me a letter that I wrote to her back in university. Mentally & emotionally I wasn’t doing so well then, and it showed in what I wrote. I kept asking her to “help me, please help me!” I was shocked and amazed at how much I was NOT apparently willing to take responsibility for my own well-being.
Without getting in to my history, I can say, to a certainty, that I was a privileged child who believed he deserved that only good things – and nothing bad – should come to him. Many who know me today can’t believe this, but I am not the same person I used to be. In those days, I was a selfish, self-centred, egotistical taker.
I’ve come a long way, I’m happy to say, but that letter was a real “Remember When” moment for this guy.
I realize today that, as I wrote that letter, what I really wanted was freedom: but not the right kind. I wanted freedom to do whatever I pleased, without having to take responsibility for it. I didn’t know that freedom comes only with hard work. That freedom comes with respecting others’ freedom. That freedom comes when I give, instead of take. I am truly free when I am in service to you, and to those around me. NOT when I am out to “get” everything I can for myself. That’s bondage, not freedom.
Too many people, in my opinion, have the same complaint, and it goes something like this: “I was just sitting there minding my own business, and THEY came along and hurt me.” “I’m a victim,” they cry. “Look what they did to me!”
Oh ya? Well, if you’re an adult, and not locked up in a cell, or confined to a concentration camp, “they” didn’t do a thing to you that you didn’t permit them to.
Usually, when I’m resentful because of something that I perceive was “done to me,” the answer is simple: I let it happen. Worse, in many cases, I started the ball rolling by doing something to hurt someone else. That, however, is a topic for another blog .
You want freedom? You need to take responsibility for it.
“I am Responsible…”
In Alcoholics Anonymous, at some point during their meetings, they often recite something known as the “Responsibility Pledge.” Here it is:
“I am responsible.
When anyone, anywhere,
reaches out for help,
I want the hand of AA always to be there,
And for that, I am responsible.”
Here is a group of people, faced with the deadly disease of alcoholism, who have finally been released from the awful obsession to continually drink alcohol.
How did they find release? They took responsibility for their actions and decided to work a program of action that demanded they change. They needed to root out the causes and conditions of their drinking, and so they did. They knew that nobody else would – or could – do it for them, so they did it for themselves.
They have finally found freedom, but they know that, with that freedom comes responsibility. First, they are responsible for continuing to do what they need to do to remain sober. Then, they are responsible for helping others achieve what they did. Third, they are responsible for living lives of tolerance, respect, open-mindedness, patience, tact and integrity.
You too can find freedom, but you need to take responsibility for the changes you need to make to become who you can become.
So, what is freedom, if it requires so much responsibility?
Free to be Me!
Freedom is a state of non-attachment. We lose our attachment to people, places and things, and we become free. It ceases to matter what others think about us: we do our own thing. It ceases to matter what others tell us we “ought” to do: we make our own decisions. It ceases to matter what other people do: we leave them to deal with the consequences of their own actions. It ceases to matter what we have and don’t have: we become grateful for what is ours today.
Freedom means I am responsible for me. I take responsibility for my own thoughts, words and actions. If I do good, I reap the benefits. If I cause harm, I take responsibility and make amends for that harm. I do for myself what I can do and leave the rest up to God. I no longer do for others what they can do for themselves, because in doing so, I make their failure to be able to do it permanent. I am free from the need to caretake and rescue.
In freedom I remain in service to others. I am responsible for helping where I can, while maintaining my responsibility to take care of myself. In freedom I put myself FIRST, so that I can be available to help others when they need me. I no longer play the martyr, nor do I blame anyone else for what happens to me. I place the ownership of the consequences of my actions squarely at my own feet and point fingers at nobody but myself.
Freedom means I can really be me, without caring too much about what you, or others, think. It means I can grow in to the amazing person I know that I am today. You are too, you know! You are an incredibly amazing, talented person who has so much to offer. But…
Are You Free?
You can be. It’s your choice. Are you choosing to put others before yourself? Do you take responsibility for them and their actions, instead of for yourself and for your own actions? Do you play the martyr? Do you believe that your problems are solely because of what “they” do “to you.”
If so, it’s a lie. They don’t do anything to you that you don’t allow them to. And, when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change, you’ll change. Or not…and usually it’s “or not” simply because you may not know how to change: you don’t know what to do.
That’s ok, because I do. I can help you. I am a life-coach in Mississauga, and I serve Toronto, the GTA and beyond. I have a program that has helped many to become free to be who they were meant to be.
My 10-week life-coaching course can help to set you on a path to freedom. I can help you open the door to a way of living that you could never have imagined possible.
Do you want to be free? Do you want to start taking responsibility for yourself? Call or text me at 647-677-6025, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to me at www.fitin20.ca/contact. The consultation is free, but what you learn may pay dividends for a lifetime!