“Your drama is self-inflicted.”, I told an old man. But he started shouting and yelling at me and called me names.
“There is no need for drama.”, I told another woman. She said nothing, gave me a “what-do-YOU-know” kind of look and left the room.
I guess, they don’t get my point.
Either that, or I am completely wrong about the whole thing.
I will try to clarify and you can decide on your own how far off the reality I really am.
When I tell the old man that his “drama is self-inflicted”, it means that he is the cause of it. He created his nightmare. He cursed himself in some weird way. He raised his own hand against him.
But we don’t want to hear this kind of stuff. It would mean we could change and stop our suffering right now. And this would cause us to re-evaluate the reasons behind all our past dramas too.
“Could I have somehow prevented this past pain as well?
Was the drama I went through indeed self-inflicted?!”
It takes courage to answer these questions.
“No, it’s their fault!”
Think back on when you had some “drama” in your life.
What caused it?
More than often drama happens when somebody ELSE wronged us. When we feel betrayed or attacked. Drama occurs when somebody violated some of our dearest convictions and standards.
It happens when we are not flexible enough.
It happens when we lack the ability to “let go”.
Let go of our thoughts and ideas of what is wrong and what is right.
The idea of how we think we should be treated.
How people are meant to behave around us.
Our ego got into the way.
It was somebody else who caused the suffering. And I can understand that when I tell the poor guy that it is HIM who is responsible for his drama, this might cause even more drama for him (ups). It goes against his very concept of his pain and – of course – he is getting defensive and upset towards me.
“They betrayed me!”
“They lied to me!”
“They used me!”
It was you.
Quick question: “Who is dumber? The idiot or the idiot who relies on the very idiot?”
Who is to blame when you hire an idiot, hand him over your life and hope he makes the right choices for you?
Who is to blame when you go into a relationship with somebody not sharing your core values, betrays you and leaves you right after?
Who is to blame when you work at Walmart’s for a minimum wage and they don’t give you a raise in like five years?
You are to blame.
- You didn’t spend enough time evaluating and thinking about your decisions.
- You didn’t do your homework.
- You didn’t do enough research beforehand.
- You didn’t raise your personal standards.
- You accepted your current life situation.
- You became a victim to your circumstances.
You are to blame.
You, or maybe the bad guy who had put the gun to your head for all those years, forcing you to make all of these decisions and choices. You or the bad guy.
But oftentimes the bad guy is you.
Because more than often your drama is self-inflicted.
People tell me (and also themselves) that they DO take responsibility over their life. They are responsible for the choices they make, they say.
But what they forget it to also be accountable for their actions. This is where most of the people fail.
Being responsible is not enough anymore. You also have to be accountable. There is a big difference.
To be accountable for something means to own it. And it is your responsibility to be accountable for your actions.
You could have always walked away from a bad relationship. You could have learned your lesson and moved on. You could have looked for a better job. You could have put in the hours and educated yourself in a new area of expertise. You could have gone to the library and educate yourself for free.
But you decided otherwise. You didn’t make yourself accountable for your actions (and the results you were getting because of them).
A friend of mine recently had her identity stolen in Barcelona. As we talked she told me about her “nightmarish” scenario. Determined to find the cause of her problem, I stopped her contempt midstream asked a few probing questions.
I wondered, was she a victim, or not being accountable?
“How did that happen?”, I probed.
“I was at the restaurant and someone swiped my purse.”
“Oh? Was your purse laid out, wide-open on the table like it is now?”
She glanced at her purse in front of her and got my point. As we sat there talking her purse was lying on the table, exposed, for the whole time. Just like it must have been back then in Barcelona. Any thief could have easily distracted her and snatched it.
Was she a victim? Or not holding herself accountable?
Her problem was caused by a bad choice. The choice to put her purse onto the table and not putting it somewhere safe.
If she were accountable to the error, her purse wouldn’t lie exposed on the table right now, but safe in her lap. She would have been accountable for her error and learned her lesson.
This is what taking full responsibility over your life really means.
You have to own every tiny thing in your life.
- But it’s hard work and oftentimes we want life to be easier.
- It’s hard to be fully responsible for everything that happens to us.
- It’s hard to make ourselves accountable for all the drama and troubles that are happening to us in our life.
It requires a lot of discipline and strength; but mostly courage.
What most people don’t see, is that it is also greatly empowering to take full control over your life. And only few tap into this great source of power, entitlement and control.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”, it says in the Spiderman movies. But I believe this saying also works the other way around. With taking responsibility over your life comes the great power to direct it into the direction YOU want it to be taking you.
But as I said, it takes a lot of courage to do so. And sometimes we are weak. It’s so much easier to rely on somebody else instead.
- To have somebody to blame in case our endeavour fails.
- To have somebody who is accountable for our mistakes (someone who is not ourselves).
- To outsource the next new business idea to India and let them do the work.
- To live the 4-hour-workweek.
- To find “love” by swiping right on Tinder.
I tried all of the above. But it’s absurd and I failed.
Society tries to tell us that we can indeed outsource the process of success and happiness and just reap the rewards. It makes you believe that you can start at the finish line.
They promote the overnight success of some superstars and neglect the years of struggle they had to go through.
They promote the new “Super Slim Diet Pill” and make you believe that there is indeed a magic pill to “happiness”.
They make you believe that you rid yourself of all your struggles and discomfort of your life with the next trip to some remote and exotic island. But it’s a lie. Wherever you go there you are.
We are conditioned to believe that you can start at the finish line.
But sadly (or luckily) this is not how life works.
We want it to be easy and fast. I get it. We want to remove all obstacles and troubles along the way. It’s easy and comfortable to give up responsibility and accountability.
And yet these are the things we have to keep within our very own control. We have to stop pointing fingers and blaming other people for our shortcomings in our lives.
In order to remove the drama, we have to become accountable for our actions (and its results).
Your drama is self-inflicted.
And therefore you also have the power to remove the drama out of your life.