No matter how much support and nurturing we receive, how much parenting, how much mentoring we can acquire, how many gurus we consult, how many priests we talk to, how many spiritual leaders we have conversations with, there comes a time when we have to be responsible for ourselves. We have to take responsibility for the state and condition of our own lives.
We have to stop assigning blame elsewhere, because it’s nobody’s fault but our own if we don’t like our lives. It’s funny how we don’t rush to credit someone else or some situation for our success and happiness, but are fast on the trigger to ascribe the reasons for our unhappiness to someone — anyone — other than ourselves.
There comes a time when we have to sit on our own bottom. We have to cut the strings, become independent, and acknowledge that if we ever want to be an authentic grownup, we have to grit our teeth, clench up our faces into one of those grimaces we make when we are at the dentist, and ‘fess up to our own choices.
Because that’s what our lives are at any given moment: the sum total of all the choices we have made in our lifetimes. Every bite of food we put into our mouths, every relationship we ever got involved in, every career move we’ve ever made, whether to turn left or right at the fork in the road, every choice, big or small, that we have made in the past has made up the life we have now.
The philosophers German Martin Heidegger, and Frenchman Jean Paul Sartre, both tell us that in order to be an Authentic person, we have to stop listening to the masses, stop groveling in conformity, step apart, think for ourselves, and essentially, to grow the heck up. They say we can’t blame society for our ills and unhappiness. It is our own fault for listening to society, which is always at best mediocre.
It’s all about choices and taking responsibility. Don’t like your life? Don’t just sit around complaining about it — choose again. Why is it we tend to think that because something is, or has come to be, that it must remain that way? Whenever I hear myself whining about something, I have to slap myself upside the head and say, “Duh! Don’t like it? Change it! And don’t tell me you can’t change it. Of course you can. You may not like what it takes to change it, but you can change it. Never tell yourself you have no other options. There are always other options. Just not options you like.
Growing up. It’s a matter of sitting on your own bottom.