A Sufi story. A man was sitting at the gate of a town, an old man. A rider stopped, a horse rider and asked him, “what are the people of this town like?”
The old man asked, “Why do you ask this?”
The rider said, “The people of the town I have come from are very indecent. I was upset and disturbed by them. I had to leave that town. Now I want to become a resident of some new town. So I am asking you how the people of this town are.”
The old man said, “Brother, you had better move on. The people of this town are even more vile, more wicked, more indecent. Here you will get into trouble, go look somewhere else.”
The rider moved on. Just behind him a bullock cart came to a halt and a man looked around and said, “Grandfather, how are the people of this village? I am searching for a new residence.”
The old man asked again, “How were the people of the village you have left?”
Tears came to the eyes of that man. He said, “I didn’t want to leave, helplessly I had to leave. The people of that village were very loving. Now wherever I live the memory of those people will torment me. I was helpless, I was in economic difficulty. I had to leave it so that I can earn something, I need to try my luck somewhere else. But I have just one ambition that whenever my luck improves, I will return there. I will reside in that village, in the end I want to die in that village. If I cannot live there then at least I want to die there.”
That old man said, “You are welcome. You will find the people of this village even more loving than the people of that village.”
A man was sitting there listening to all this. First he heard what the horse rider said and the old man’s answer. Then he heard what this man on the bullock cart said and the old man’s answer. The man said, “You have really surprised me. You said to one man that this village is very vile and wicked, just move on. And to the other you said this village has very loving people, you have no need to go further, you are welcome!
The old man explained, “People are just the way you are.”
Our Own Life
Do you blame other people and circumstances for keeping you from achieving the level of success, happiness, and health you’d like to enjoy? Blaming others for deficiencies or any of the conditions of your life keeps you from fulfilling your own highest destiny. Everyone in life does exactly what they know how to do given the conditions of their lives.
Be willing to accept total responsibility for every facet of your own life. You didn’t inherit your personality traits from anyone in the past—you’ve repeatedly chosen them, even though you may be unaware of how or why. If you’re shy, loud, fearful, assertive, loving, hateful, kind, or cruel, learn to say: This is what I’ve chosen for myself up until now.
Similarly, if you find yourself mired in debt, languishing in poverty, wasting away in an unfulfilling career, or wilting in an unsatisfying relationship—whatever the current conditions of your life, ask yourself if you’re willing to take responsibility for them. This appears difficult. You indeed may have suffered at the hands of uneducated, poorly informed, badly addicted people. It was not your fault.
Even as we recognize this, to accept, without guilt, that everything that has shown up in your life has value equal to your assuming responsibility for its existence. There’s something for you to learn in any difficulty. Be willing to say, “Thank you, God, for the experiences I’ve lived through” on a daily basis. Look for the blessing in all situations, and remind yourself that you’re no longer a child, but a fully functioning adult willing to accept the responsibility that will now give you control of your destiny.
Learning from the story People Are Just The Way You Are: We Are Responsible For Our Own Life.
What is the way?
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.
Take Responsibility for Your Life: Give Up the Blame Game.
1. Turn negativity into positive action.
Take one thing today that you feel negative about. Before the day is out, take one positive action that diminishes the negativity. Such actions include the following: standing up for yourself, speaking your truth, fixing what can be fixed, asking for help, seeking wise advice, walking away from things that can’t be fixed, reducing the stress and looking at your role in creating the negative situation. But the possibilities are endless. Taking even a small action begins to change the feedback you’re getting.
2. Don’t indulge the level of futility.
“It’s hopeless. I’m helpless. Nothing will change or ever get better.” Everyone hears these words; the voice of futility persists because we were all little children who felt helpless and hopeless at times. If you indulge the voice of futility, it will pull you down to its level. So reject the temptation to indulge in a defeatist viewpoint. Tell yourself, “This negative voice isn’t me.” Gently but firmly reject the voice of futility, and when any good thing happens, however small, remind yourself that the voice was wrong.
3. Expand your awareness.
The greatest enemy of awareness is contraction. When you find yourself in a tight situation, feeling that there is no way out, drawing a blank when you try to think of new solutions, or carrying around a heavy burden, these are signs of contraction, in mind, body and spirit. Expansion is the great friend of awareness. It brings in the light, opening up new possibilities. In a relaxed, open state, your awareness sees farther, and life isn’t so confined.
How can you expand your awareness? To begin with, set aside time every day for peace and quiet. The brain has a natural mechanism for resetting itself and getting back into balance. Give this mechanism a chance. Being under pressure, putting up with noise and stress, and never stopping to relax are counterproductive. Go into a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes at least two times a day. Let yourself become centered again, and if you can, practice meditation.
5. Take full responsibility.
If you want a radical cure for being a victim, here it is. Victims are dominated by external forces—other people, circumstances—and since outside forces cannot be controlled, it seems natural to give up responsibility for the bad things in your life. “I can’t help it” is like a poison seed that keeps multiplying and growing. The solution is to recognize that situations change only after a person quits looking outside and starts taking responsibility.
In effect, you are saying something positive: This is my life. You reclaim ownership of your life once you take responsibility. At the same time, you are stating a simple, inescapable truth. If your life isn’t your own, whom else can it belong to? No one else has enough time, money, energy and love to give you everything. Awareness comes from within. When you take responsibility, you accept everything, the good and the bad, as your whole package.