“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”Dr. Robert Anthony
I grew up in a family of seven. Three sisters, one brother and two parents. My family is my constant. My parents my role model. My siblings and I were always their priority. We never doubted being wanted. They taught me all of the most important things I value today. Honesty, respect, hard work, kindness… and accountability.
I have met a lot of people that have suffered abusive relationships and there is often a common background story of neglect and/or abuse that led up to the relationship. So why did I go down the path I did? Why, when I had parents who gave me everything they had available to them, beautifully and unselfishly? Where did I go wrong? It took me a great deal of reluctant digging to find where and how I got off of a healthy path. Reluctant because I knew I had no one to blame. I had no narcissistic or abusive adult to point a finger at. I was not neglected by an alcoholic parent. So then, I had to look at myself.
I was a painfully shy kid. The kid that hid behind my mother or father when we went anywhere because I couldn’t talk to anyone. On top of that, I always felt different than everyone else. I just didn’t feel like I belonged. When I got older, I found myself wanting more than what I could find in my small hometown. I wanted adventure and challenge. But. I was so shy. So scared of the world. I was stuck. I was stuck and hungry. I was stuck and looking to belong. And then I met him.
He entered my world promising a life of excitement. He told me stories of his travels. Stories of his adventures. Plans of more to come. And I hooked my wagon up to his train for the free ride. Because that was the hook. I was waiting for the free ride. The ride where I didn’t have to overcome my shyness. Or be brave enough to face any challenges on my own. I could just let someone else take control. I took the easy road. We never went on any of those adventures. There was little excitement and a lot of hardship. Struggles. Battles. I took what I thought was the easy road but in fact in was a very hard road. And a long one.
There is no easy road. I know that now. The easy road isn’t so fun. It is not filled with the adventure and excitement that you think it is. It is a dangerous road and I travelled it. And I am accountable for that path. I took that path because I didn’t know how or want to know how to make my own. So I cannot blame a guy who made me feel disrespected and worthless. I cannot blame an upbringing that was nothing but happy and safe. I can only look at the choices I made and understand that I and I alone am accountable.
Accountable for the hard life I chose. The hard times I endured. The life I changed. The life I now own and embrace. And… (pay attention – this is important!)… for not making the same mistake twice. Accountability works both ways. And when you own the bad choices, it leaves space for you to learn. To make better choices. To be better. And I am also accountable for that. Accountable for my courage. My own adventures. My happy.
So do I point a finger at someone else because life got hard? Nope.
The blame game is lame. Look in the mirror. Because that person is the only one ultimately responsible for your life.