In a previous posting, some of you wrote back requesting clarification on how all of us can be “100% responsible for our lives” when there are certain obvious things which we cannot control, such as sexual abuse or a physical disability.
First, let’s distinguish responsibility from fault or blame. When I was sexually abused by one of my babysitters, I felt terribly violated. As I became conscious of what happened, I started asking many questions like “Why did this happen to me?” Asking that question lead me to find fault all around me. Was the babysitter a sick individual? Did my parents not pay enough attention to me? Couldn’t school teachers see any signs? How could God allow this? These kinds of questions lead my mind into confusion and sorrow, and skewed my reality. I felt the circumstances were unfair and too difficult for me to handle.
When I took responsibility for what happened, I didn’t put the fault or blame on myself. Where the fault lies or who is to blame has nothing to do with taking responsibility.
When I took responsibility for what happened, I acknowledged what had happened to me instead of denying it… When I took responsibility for what happened, I forgave the people who betrayed me, instead of holding resentment within myself… And when I took responsibility for what happened, I learned what it would take to not have these memories have a negative impact on the rest of my life. In fact, in writing this now, I am continuing to learn how to use these memories in a positive way.
Remember, if you take responsibility for X, that does not make X right, wrong, good, bad, just or unjust. Responsibility — the ability to respond — has to do with dealing with circumstances, rather than labeling those circumstances. Responsibility has nothing to do with other people; it just has to do with YOU.
It’s good to realize that we weren’t necessarily the cause of uncontrollable negative circumstances coming into our lives. It’s even more rewarding to realize that we are creating our lives by the manner in which we embrace and work with those circumstances.
Here’s another example: I’m not at fault nor do I blame myself for having albinism. I do take responsibility for it by proactively integrating myself into a society that is not conducive to people with this condition. To build my confidence and self-esteem, I approach this issue from a spiritual perspective. I believe that I chose my body — the albinism, the blindness, the sexiness — everything! Having faith in my beliefs is what helps me to live a life I love.
Believe that you were meant to live the life you are living.
And be responsible for the life that you have.
Let’s love the world together…
Danish Ahmed, blind visionary