Introducing the 4 Rs !
Self Management Series
The foundations of what ‘they’ believed would be our ability to create our life and deal with what the world will throw at us are laid at an early age. We went to school to learn what we were told was the 3 Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic! In fact the three core subjects of our academic education, important as they undoubtedly are, would contribute very little to our learning, as most of the ‘learning process’ would be based on memorisation. And memorisation is not learning, it’s memorisation.
It would be some years later, when leaving school, college or university that a quiet voice in the heads of many would whisper, “Thank God that learning stuff is over, now I can go and make some money”. Little did most of us realise we were just entering the real school otherwise known as ‘life’ and that our learning was about to begin…for real!
In the school of ‘real life’ we would be forced to focus our energy and learn to make decisions in areas where our academic education had not dared to go. We would quickly have to learn to manage the four things that no one ever teaches us… and fast. It is in the school of ‘real life’ that we encounter the 4 Rs – responsibility, relationship, roles and resources. It would probably be some time before we realise that this gap in our education would be at the root of all our stress. It could be many years before the penny drops and we wake up to the fact that we have been struggling, striving and stressing our way through life precisely because no one was able to teach us how to accept total responsibility for our self, relate to others appropriately, play the right role at the right time, and use the resources we already have within us in the most effective ways.
And yet even today this huge gap in our education is still not seen as one of the greatest handicaps that we inherit and exactly why its absence has the tendency to kill our ability to create a happy and fulfilled existence. Strong sentiments they may be, but lets see how true they are as we embark on a reflective exploration and examination of exactly what was and still tends to be missing from our childhood curriculum.
Responsibility – The First R in our Real Education
While we may learn how ‘to do’ tasks, processes and projects we receive little insight into how ‘to be’. We are ‘human beings’ long before we are humans doing! All that we do springs from our state of being. Wake up grumpy and it doesn’t matter how well the day goes, it’s a grumpy day. Wake up feeling positive and focused and it doesn’t matter what goes wrong, we can handle it. While we may receive some training as to how the mechanical and functional aspects of life work, no one teaches us how the emotional dimension interferes with almost every decision, choice and course of action. While we may train to be a specialist and achieve great things in some area of endeavour no one teaches how to master our own consciousness and create great ideas. While we study intensely for the degrees and doctorates which will earn us the wealth to pay the bills, no one ever explains how to understand and select the values which will inform our choices and our relationships, thus generating what we may eventually realise is ‘real wealth’, that of peace, love and enthusiasm. Learning about our value choices tends to be left to societies imposition of its social norms and cultural conditioning.
When we are taught to take our lead from the social milieu we don’t learn what is possibly the deepest and most life affecting lesson of all, which is responsibility for ones self. In fact we assimilate the opposite, that we are not responsible for our self. Self-responsibility sounds obvious, who else could be responsible for our life except our selves? And yet the vast majority in many societies will spend their entire lives without realizing they are responsible for everything that they create in their life. Or to put it another way we are responsible for every thought, feeling, belief, perception, attitude and action. Or to put it another way, regardless of the circumstances or situation we are each responsible for every response we create.
This of course is often not easy to see and accept when we watch some of the events that many people have to encounter around the world. Earthquakes in China, storms in Burma and political games in African states seem to demonstrate that it is impossible to be self responsible in all places at all times, and that there must be moments when we can justifiably call our self a victim.
And yet there is always someone in such challenging circumstances who never stops to bemoan events, never blames or complains. Their ability to respond positively and proactively is empowered by their perception of themselves as someone who is prepared to take full responsibility for the quality of their next thought and their next action. They do not allow themselves to be overwhelmed by events. They are absolutely clear that life will throw up all kinds of situations and circumstances over which they have no control, and that all they can control is their response, because that is their response ability. Sometimes they would be called ‘real leaders’!
Any time we feel emotionally uncomfortable, stressed or negative in any way, it’s a sign we are avoiding our responsibility for our self. It is a sign that we have some learning to do. There are a number of insights and principles that remind us of our responsibility for our self. None are new but they always worth revisiting, reminding, revising, renewing and reapplying within our ‘self’.
Seven Principles of Self Responsibility
You are the creator of ALL your thoughts, feelings (emotions) and actions.
Easy theory but in reality most of us are taught to believe otherwise. Any time you react to anything or anyone it just means you are saying someone else is responsible for what your life in that moment. It means that you are not in control of your self. It ‘seems’ someone else is ‘making’ you react, but it’s just a projection of ones own self-created discomfort. It’s just an avoidance of self-responsibility.
Even though you may have assimilated beliefs and behaviours at a young age you are responsible for the maintenance or the changing of those beliefs/behaviours into old age!
In other words we cannot blame the past either! Our actions and reactions today are certainly shaped by what we assimilated yesterday, last year, decades ago. The beliefs and perceptions absorbed as a child have a powerful and usually subconscious influence over our life. Self-responsibility recognizes the necessity to make the unconscious conditioning conscious, so that it can be checked, challenged and where necessary, changed. This is the cultivation of self-awareness and this is the foundation of real learning.
No person, event or situation is responsible for your happiness
Not easy to see when our conditioning has told us the opposite. But until we see and live the truth of this principle we will never know real freedom or true joy. We will live a needy and dependent life without realizing the true meaning and source of our own contentment.
All that you seek outside yourself you already have within you
Everything that we do is motivated by a personal desire that only seeks one thing – the contentment that comes from ‘feeling’ our inner peace and the giving of the energy that we are, which is love. When you see this and know this, you recognize that all seeking is simply a search for the self and you are looking in the wrong direction.
As you think so you create your life
It’s no secret that many have and do use this very old and fairly obvious understanding or insight regarding our ‘consciousness’ to create exactly the life they want to live. They were able to do this because they were learned to concentrate their mind on precisely what they wanted to manifest in their life over time. When we believe we are not responsible for our own destiny moment by moment we do not practice the art of concentration essential to our creativity. We feel we are therefore not the creators of our life, we feel powerless; we feel we are being controlled. All are illusions to a human who knows their own being and consciously uses their own mind.
You are not responsible for others feelings
One of the greatest freedoms and therefore doorways back to happiness is the realization that you don’t make others happy or sad, they do. Always. This one insight alone, when restored to our awareness on a day-to-day basis, can end many dysfunctional ‘relationship games’ including the emotional blackmail we learn around guilt and shame.
You are never victim unless you choose to be
Listen to the many stories of those who have faced what could be called insurmountable odds or terrible adversity, and hear how they were able to respond. They didn’t just have tremendous resilience; they had a mindset, which had learned how to turn any scene or situation into a positive force for their own learning and strength. Seldom found at the heart of the school curriculum but it is a ‘potential’ that lies within the heart of every human being.
Question: What are the three things/situations you are currently ‘reacting’ most to in your life at the moment and which of the above insights could help you most in each?
Reflection: Why do we tend to avoid self-responsibility so often, so quickly and so easily?
Action: Take each one of the above principles, allocate a day, and consciously see where you could apply it for yourself or for others