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Are you holding on to a handful of dirt? Taking responsibility for where you’re at

Are you holding on to a handful of dirt?

…and still blaming the person/event that gave it to you?

Taking responsibility for where you’re at.


I get a lot of emails from people who have had a bereavement and wish to share their story or ask a question.  And sometimes people will share other things that are upsetting them, hurting them, or making them angry.  Sometimes from many years ago.

Tough love time. 

We are adults and if we wish to be empowered then we need to take responsibility for where we are at.

No ifs, no buts.

I know it’s easy to point fingers at everyone and everything else sometimes and blame them for why we are unhappy/angry/unsuccessful/unfulfilled/depressed/ …..(fill in the blank). I know it’s easy because I’ve been that gal – pointing my finger at other people, family, friends, partners, events (like death in my life for example), medical diagnoses, brain chemistry, situations that seem out of our control, life, the world.

When I did this all the time ( because I do still do it sometimes….I’d be lying if I said otherwise!)I was depressed, desperately unhappy, and completely disempowered, determined to be a victim, swearing black and blue there was nothing I could do, that everything just happened to me.

But it simply wasn’t true.  And my life didn’t begin to change until I really took full responsibility for where I was at.

And all the finger pointing just means you are completely powerless to change your life. Because if you and your life are really the responsibility of everything and everyone that has happened to you and how you have been treated and you aren’t responsible at all….then you are like a leaf blowing round in the wind.  Completely at the mercy of life and ‘luck’.  And then what can you do but cross your fingers or pray….seeing as you have no power at all?

But you do have power!

Imagine this. Jack goes up to Jill and says “open your hand. I have a gift for you”.  Jill opens her hand…and then Jack drops a handful of dirt into it. “Jack, you dork!” Jill yells “gross, what did you do that for?!” and Jack runs away.

So there is Jill with her handful of dirt, cursing Jack.

But 6 months later there she still is, holding the dirt and fuming about Jack and telling others what a horrible person he is because just look what he did to her!

And then a year passes, 2 years, 5, 10, 20 years.  And there she is still holding the dirt, telling herself (and her therapist, and anyone else who will listen) that Jack ruined her life, and that he is the reason she can’t get into a relationship, that he is the reason she doesn’t trust people who try to give her gifts, and that he is the reason why she is generally so unhappy.

But guess what.  It stopped having anything at all to do with Jack a long time ago.  Jill was the one who chose to keep carrying it.  She was the one who stopped herself from doing things…blaming it on the dirt that SHE was carrying, that she wouldn’t put down.  She, as an adult, chose to carry this for 20 years..and she is responsible for that fact.  Not Jack.

Maybe she didn’t put it down because she thought to do so would let Jack off the hook….but the only one she is hurting is herself.   Jack is living the high life in Vegas and doesn’t even think of Jill often. Meanwhile Jill is drinking poison and hoping Jack will die.  And the important point is that it is JILL that raises that cup to her lips every single day and suffers the consequences.

And can she really even blame Jack for her initial reaction?  After all Jack may have given dirt to a lot of people….and not at all of them reacted like she did. Some of them may have thrown it back at Jack and told him to piss off.  Some may have dropped it immediately or washed it off. Some may have laughed their butts off thinking that was a brilliant joke. Some may have said “thanks Jack” and used it to grow a rosebush.  Many of them may have said “Jack you’re such an idiot”…and then completely forgot it even happened.  How can Jack be held responsible for every reaction…when they were all so different?

Until the day Jill acknowledges her pain is her own doing, that yes maybe Jack gave her dirt but it is SHE that carried it all her life…..until that day she is powerless.  But once that day comes Jill will finally realise that she can put that dirt down…and indeed it was only ever she that could.

And that is the beautiful thing – once you take responsibility fully and stop pointing all those fingers here there and everywhere (outside of yourself) you take your power back…because no one can give it back to you if you will not take it…and then you get to decide where else in your life you’d like to to use it.

What have you been holding on to and blaming others for, that you can now take responsibility for and make changes to?  What event in your past  (yes, including any and all deaths) do you feel is holding you in place….and is it time for you to  stop holding yourself there?  What would you do with your reclaimed power?

You are not a victim of anything….unless you choose to be.

You have the power to change your life….unless you refuse to use it.

You are bigger than whatever or whoever has happened to you.…unless you insist on shrinking.

You may not get to pick what happens to you….but you get to pick what you do with it and who you become because of it.