We Are Only Responsible For Ourselves

This is the best poem that I’ve ever read on personal responsibility and accountability. I love how this man realized that in the end, it wasn’t his problem.

“Not my circus, not my monkeys”, a Polish proverb.

“The Bridge”

There was a man who had given much thought to what he wanted
from life. He had experienced many moods and trials. He had
experimented with different ways of living, and he had had his
share of both success and failure. At last, he began to see
clearly where he wanted to go.

Diligently, he searched for the right opportunity. Sometimes he
came close, only to be pushed away. Often he applied all his
strength and imagination, only to find the path hopelessly
blocked. And then at last it came. But the opportunity would not
wait. It would be made available only for a short time. If it
were seen that he was not committed, the opportunity would not
come again.

Eager to arrive, he started on his journey. With each step, he
wanted to move faster; with each thought about his goal, his
heart beat quicker; with each vision of what lay ahead, he found
renewed vigor. Strength that had left him since his early youth
returned, and desires, all kinds of desires, reawakened from
their long-dormant positions.

Hurrying along, he came upon a bridge that crossed through the
middle of a town. It had been built high above a river in order
to protect it from the floods of spring.

He started across. Then he noticed someone coming from the
opposite direction. As they moved closer, it seemed as though
the other was coming to greet him. He could see clearly,
however, that he did not know this other, who was dressed
similarly except for something tied around his waist.

When they were within hailing distance, he could see that what
the other had about his waist was a rope. It was wrapped around
him many times and probably, if extended, would reach a length
of 30 feet.

The other began to uncurl the rope, and, just as they were
coming close, the stranger said, “Pardon me, would you be so
kind as to hold the end a moment?”

Surprised by this politely phrased but curious request, he
agreed without a thought, reached out, and took it.

“Thank you,” said the other, who then added, “two hands now, and
remember, hold tight.” Whereupon, the other jumped off the bridge.

Quickly, the free-falling body hurtled the distance of the ropes
length, and from the bridge the man abruptly felt the pull.
Instinctively, he held tight and was almost dragged over the
side. He managed to brace himself against the edge, however, and
after having caught his breath, looked down at the other
dangling, close to oblivion.

“What are you trying to do?” he yelled.

“Just hold tight,” said the other.

“This is ridiculous,” the man thought and began trying to haul
the other in. He could not get the leverage, however. It was as
though the weight of the other person and the length of the rope
had been carefully calculated in advance so that together they
created a counterweight just beyond his strength to bring the
other back to safety.

“Why did you do this?” the man called out.

“Remember,” said the other, “if you let go, I will be lost.”

“But I cannot pull you up,” the man cried.

“I am your responsibility,” said the other.

“Well, I did not ask for it,” the man said.

“If you let go, I am lost,” repeated the other.

He began to look around for help. But there was no one. How
long would he have to wait? Why did this happen to befall him
now, just as he was on the verge of true success? He examined
the side, searching for a place to tie the rope. Some
protrusion, perhaps, or maybe a hole in the boards. But the
railing was unusually uniform in shape; there were no spaces
between the boards. There was no way to get rid of this newfound
burden, even temporarily.

“What do you want?” he asked the other hanging below.

“Just your help,” the other answered.

“How can I help? I cannot pull you in, and there is no place to
tie the rope so that I can go and find someone to help me help you.”

“I know that. Just hang on; that will be enough. Tie the rope
around your waist; it will be easier.”

Fearing that his arms could not hold out much longer, he tied
the rope around his waist.

“Why did you do this?” he asked again. “Don’t you see what you
have done? What possible purpose could you have had in mind?”

“Just remember,” said the other, “my life is in your hands.”

What should he do? “If I let go, all my life I will know that I
let this other die. If I stay, I risk losing my momentum toward
my own long-sought-after salvation. Either way this will haunt
me forever.”

With ironic humor he thought to die himself, instantly, to jump
off the bridge while still holding on. “That would teach this
fool.” But he wanted to live and to live life fully. “What a
choice I have to make; how shall I ever decide?”

As time went by, still no one came. The critical moment of
decision was drawing near. To show his commitment to his own
goals, he would have to continue on his journey now. It was
already almost too late to arrive in time. But what a terrible
choice to have to make.

A new thought occurred to him. While he could not pull this
other up solely by his own efforts, if the other would shorten
the rope from his end by curling it around his waist again and
again, together they could do it. Actually, the other could do
it by himself, so long as he, standing on the bridge, kept it
still and steady.

“Now listen,” he shouted down. “I think I know how to save you.”
And he explained his plan.

But the other wasn’t interested.

“You mean you won’t help? But I told you I cannot pull you up by
myself, and I don’t think I can hang on much longer either.”

“You must try,” the other shouted back in tears. “If you fail, I
die.”

The point of decision arrived. What should he do? “My life or
this other’s?” And then a new idea. A revelation. So new, in
fact, it seemed heretical, so alien was it to his traditional
way of thinking.

“I want you to listen to me carefully,” he said, “because I mean
what I am about to say. I will not accept the position of choice
for your life, only for my own; the position of choice for your
own life I hereby give back to you.”

“What do you mean?” the other asked, afraid.

“I mean, simply, it’s up to you. You decide which way this ends.
I will become the counterweight. You do the pulling and bring
yourself up. I will even tug a little from here.” He began
unwinding the rope from around his waist and braced himself anew
against the side.

“You cannot mean what you say,” the other shrieked. “You would
not be so selfish. I am your responsibility. What could be so
important that you would let someone die? Do not do this to me.”

He waited a moment. There was no change in the tension of the rope.

“I accept your choice,” he said, at last, and freed his hands.

–From “FRIEDMAN’S FABLES” by Edwin Friedman,
published by Guilford Press

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Consequences…

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen Covey.

“You are free to make whatever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequences of the choice.”

When you do the wrong thing, you should expect to face the consequences of your actions. Isn’t it funny how so many people fight to not have to face them? Whether it’s kids that are hurting from a divorce, a business that fails, a former spouse that wants nothing to do with you, or relationships that have been damaged; people don’t like to face the music. Often there is a relatively simple solution to help mend fences, but many don’t want to take it. Why? Fear, pride, having to take responsibility, and being held accountable for ones own actions. In other words, having to face the consequences.

I once knew someone that was upset with me, because I judged them for their actions. Now, stop and think about this. Any rational, sane person goes by your actions, and not by your words. Why? People lie all the time. That’s right, there are people that believe it’s better to lie to save themselves, than to tell the truth and risk facing the consequences. The runners of the world always have escape plans. They make messes, run from them at the first opportune moment, and expect others to clean them up. Fully expecting to continue to live without the stress of facing the consequences. It’s called: denial.

These types of people think that it’s someone else’s job to make their lives run smoothly after they screw things up. This is what entitlement looks like. Entitled people believe that consequences are for others to deal with. They shouldn’t have to suffer for their poor choices, bad decisions and unreasonable actions. Doesn’t this sound like a 4 year that won’t admit that they ate the Oreo cookie, even though the crumbs are all over their mouth? Why would anyone do this? To avoid pain. But here’s the rub: sooner or later it catches up with you. When it’s later, it’s even more painful.

The funny thing is, by the time it does catch up to you, you’ve caused so much destruction and damage, that there’s no one left to help you clean up the mess. You’ve used all the people that you could to get you out of a jam. Small messes when dealt with are easy to clean up. And, if you make enough small messes, they become a massive mess. By this time, no one is interested in helping you clean up, because they’re sick of bailing you out. Period.

When you finally are forced to take responsibility, those that you wished were there to help are long gone. That’s a heavy price to pay for living in denial. But, pay it you will. Digging yourself out is tough, but it can be life changing. If you let it. No one wants to clean up anyone else’s mess. And, if you’ve caused them heartache and difficulties consistently? Then you’ll be hard pressed to get them to trust you, let alone have a desire to reach out to you. They just won’t accept justifications. The only way to make amends? Admit what you’ve done and let them decide how you can make it up to them. That’s right, they have control of the situation, you don’t.

Accepting the parts of yourself that you don’t like and/or are ashamed of can help you to see yourself as you truly are, not how you image yourself to be. It’s the imaginary self that got you into the mess in the first place. Who you are, and how you see yourself can be vastly different. If you make messes for others to clean up, then you aren’t seeing your real self. Authentic people face challenges that will make them a better person, poseurs run to avoid being exposed.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to forgive a person that refuses to see the destruction and devastation that they’ve caused. If they don’t own it, but say their sorry, their apology means nothing. Cleaning up messes means making amends: on the other person’s terms, not yours. Trying to force a relationship is just not going to work, and is just plain wrong.

You can’t leave people high and dry and expect them to be there for you, let alone welcome you back with open arms. Especially after they’ve dealt with your mess and/or messes. That’s not only childish, it’s not fair to the injured party. It also shows a complete lack of empathy. And remember, what comes around goes around.

So what’s the way out? Admission of wrong doing. Telling someone that you did the best you could in a situation that you created isn’t going to cut it. You’ll have to come clean, and risk rejection. Period. If you’re not willing to go out on a limb and accept that you’ll have a lot of amends to make, you shouldn’t even bother. Somethings will take time, and you don’t get to hold the stopwatch. That’s a big one for people who want to feel better about what they’ve done: being able to dictate how long it takes for someone to forgive and accept them. Give that one up, it’s not your call.

Let’s face it, people who make messes tend to be quitters. That’s why they run in the first place. They can’t see that some of the challenges in life are meant to strengthen and change you. If you don’t want to change, you run. And that is the truth. Stop running, eventually you’ll run into a dead end. End of the line where consequences await with their weapons of choice. We can make our own decisions, choices, and take action. But, we don’t get to dictate how others deal with them. That’s what they call, the bigger picture.

The Flip Side (Bright side)

I have a friend that has been helping me with reframing how I: see, say, approach, take action and look at things in my personal life and business. And, he’s helped me to see the flip side. He’s taught me how to create what I want, and to see how I had a part in creating what I didn’t want. That’s empowering. You really do start to attract what you want when your intention is there. I’m grateful that he reminded me that I had to raise my positive vibration level ( science actually backs this one up ). It really has opened doors. I really love that this guy is there for me, and helps me to see how to keep it positive, no matter what.

So how can looking at the flip side help you? Well, for one thing, it can get you to stay focused. Help you to keep your emotions in perspective ( anger has a place, but misused anger creates destruction ). Steers you in the direction that you want to go in, and takes out things that hinder you. Anyone that’s been in a bad relationship ( business, family, marriage, working, etc… ) with a control freak knows exactly what I’m talking about. Nothing hinders you more than a person that is constantly trying to define your reality.

Living on the flip side is also good for emotional health. When you feel good, others around you can feel it too. It’s easy to spot someone that doesn’t feel good, they are constantly trying to make someone else miserable. Pain is a harsh teacher, but one that we all have to learn from. When you run from your pain, it doesn’t leave, it just follows you and grows. That lowers your vibrational frequency. Look at it this way: you can feel the room get heavy when a really negative person comes into it. You can physically feel it in the air.

On the flip side, when you deal with pain or trauma, you are able to heal. Once you heal, the pain is released and you actually become stronger for it. That’s the place you want to be. It’s not avoidance of pain that makes you a better person, it’s the courage to get through it. Once it’s over, it’s truly over. The flip side is, now you have learned a valuable lesson that will help you to become a better you. That’s progress. We all have scars, but how many of us can say that we are grateful for the lessons learned that have made us, and didn’t break us? If you’re still standing despite it all, then give yourself a hand.

Embracing the flip side helps you become more self aware. Let’s face it, if you’re not self aware, people will take advantage of you. Period. Being distracted isn’t going to help you achieve anything in life, and that only attracts manipulative people. Being self aware is different from being selfish. Self care is vital to your well being. Knowing what you want, need, and desire are traits that all people have. If others can’t do the things to take care of themselves and thrive in your presence, then you are: selfish, immature, entitled, narrow minded, destructive and negative. People who are like this, usually don’t know that they are.

Flip side living also helps your physical health. Just like a negative life ages you rapidly, a positive one slows down the aging process. It really does. Have you ever noticed that when someone leaves a job they hate, gets divorced or has something destructive leave their lives, they actually physically look better? They may lose weight, lose ten years off their looks, or even just seem younger in spirit? That’s what living on the flip side does. When you set  your sights on being healthy, and whole, you become happy. It’s true. Everyone notices the difference, and to be honest, it’s nice to hear about it when it happens.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life that helps you to see the flip ( otherwise known as the bright side ) keep that person in your inner circle. They are truly rare and you’d be hard pressed to find many of them. Keep them in your life, and be good to them. Work out any difficulties, and make sure you apologize when your wrong. That’s the sign that you value someone, and aren’t letting pride and ego get in the way. There’s no room on the flip side for ego boosts, just authenticity.

 

 

 

 

 

Regret…

Since so many people seem to be going through this, I’m going to post another article.  Cheating seems to be rampant these  days, and plenty of people will support a cheater. They lie, and people will believe a one sided tainted drama filled story every time. This really can hurt your business when you’re living a double life. It’s not worth it in the end.

A cheap thrill, is just that in the end: cheap. And, it will cost you more in the long run. Many a business person has lost the business to the spouse that they cheated on, and watched it either thrive or purposefully be run into the ground. Either way, losing something that you’ve built can be really painful. Look at what real regret looks like.

This is the link for those of you who would like to read more articles on the subject.

http://www.you.co.za/my-story/dont-be-me-and-live-with-regret-a-mans-letter-to-other-men-tempted-to-cheat/

Full article below.

‘Don’t be me and live with regret’: a man’s letter to other men tempted to cheat
Jacob* left his wife of almost a decade for a woman he had been romancing online. But the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. He shares his story with YOU.

“I was you 9 years ago.

I was married, had been with my wife for 15 years. Then I left her 2 months short of our 10 year wedding anniversary.

We were parents to two beautiful children, who are in their late teens now, but were only seven and nine years old when I walked out.

I travelled for work, stayed in a different hotel at least three nights a week. That’s how I met Eve*.

We got to know each other over time. We became Facebook friends. We sent messages to each other all day and night. She was also married, also had two kids. We had so much in common, we soon fell in love. I felt like she ‘got’ me.

This was all during a very trying time in my marriage. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t look forward to going home. My wife had put on weight, we hardly ever spoke, she always looked so miserable.

Little did I realise that I was the reason she was so down and depressed. I didn’t pay her any attention. I took her for granted. I was too busy wishing my life was more exciting, being romanced online, spending all of my free time thinking how I could get out.

I believed she didn’t love me. I convinced myself she never cared about me or my needs and wants and wishes, that all I was was a paycheck.

She spent her free time taking care of us — our kids, making our suppers, doing out washing, making lunches, doing homework, projects, shuttling kids to sport, taking care of the pets they loved so much, their friends, and had a job of her own on top of it all.

Every time she spoke to me, all I heard was nagging and whining. But she was actually begging for my attention: a weekend away, a date night, a movie — everything I ended up doing with Eve behind her back and after I left my family.

We argued and fought because we felt unheard by the other. And yet that was all we actually had to do – LISTEN – to each other!

I moved to another province with Eve. My now ex-wife got custody of our kids. I saw them every second weekend, the usual ‘Dad’ set up.

New beginnings

Life was sweet!

Eve and I had an amazing sex life. A connection I believed I never had with my ex. We had a large circle of friends. My family loved her. My kids liked her.

But my ex could never bring herself to meet Eve – she felt betrayed. I hated her even more! She was childish. She was mean. She never cared about me or my happiness. I didn’t care about my ex’s feelings when I posted photos of us on Facebook… I had Eve and a whole new life and it was fantastic!

We were together for about six or seven years but never married – we believed marriage was not our thing.

I believed that after 15 years with my ex, we’d given it all we could and our time together was up, there was nothing we could do to salvage our relationship or marriage. Eve was my future, Eve was who I should have been with all along.

Eventually, no matter how well we got along in the beginning; no matter how well I thought she “got” me; no matter how good the sex was; the “honeymoon” came to an end.

Eve and I started snapping at each other. Little fights here and there. I had a moment of pure realisation one night, at about 2am.

I realised that I missed the woman who created my first home and family. I realised that if I’d treated my ex-wife the way I’d treated Eve, used the hours I spend woo-ing Eve on my ex, she’d have bloomed.

If I’d stopped being negative about her and our relationship to my family and friends they wouldn’t have been so negative to her and she wouldn’t have pulled into herself and shied away.

She became someone I convinced myself I no longer knew or got along with because I never gave her the time and affection and attention she craved and deserved.

I thought I had, but when I got down and really thought about it I never really did. I never really let her in. I had ended my marriage years before with the simple decision that she was no longer who or what I wanted. And I’d convinced my family and friends the same – that she was no good for me!

Regret sets in

But I was wrong. I missed the best years of my kids lives. Missed being a family with them. I let their mother battle with raising them alone. Yes I helped financially, but a man living outside his family has no real idea what the costs are on the single mother. While Eve and I ate steaks on the weekends, my ex-wife was living on egg and toast.

And do you know that she never complained? She never demanded more money out of me. She never stopped me from seeing the kids. Never said no if I changed plans on her at the last minute. She gave up her weekends so that my mother could spend time with her grandchildren. She left me to get on with my life with Eve, even though it must have killed her.

Like any relationship, it had started out good – great in fact – but when it go bad I decided to leave… I walked out and divorced a woman who – and I can only see this now – would have done anything for me. But I’d told myself she wouldn’t or couldn’t.

My ex-wife stayed single for 8 years. She dated but never got involved. Her being single was also a kind of affirmation for me – that no one wanted her – that everything I’d decided she lacked, so did other men… She actually stayed single to focus on our children.

Too late

And then came the day she met Craig. I never thought it would bug me in any way if she got a boyfriend. I thought it would be great! But I was very wrong. I felt hurt. I felt jealous. I even felt angry and maybe betrayed.

She moved in with Craig, along with my kids. She set up a new home. A new family, with my kids… it was a very bitter pill to swallow.

I finally understood how she’d felt all these years. And it felt rotten.

I watched via Facebook and through conversations with our old mutual friends how Craig spoiled her and the kids. Their weekends were spent on the beach – he surfed with my son. They went hiking in the Burg. They went to Mauritius where he proposed on a kayak and she said yes — they got married.

My daughter was a bridesmaid. My son was a groomsman. Craig’s parents and brother welcomed my ex-wife and children into their family. They told everyone how blessed they were to be gaining them as family.

She glowed with happiness. She radiated love and none of it was for me! My heart felt like it had been ripped out.

It should have been me.

Don’t be me. You think you will never be happy when you are in a rut. It is when you are there at your darkest that you need to grip down and try your hardest.

Today I live alone and still only see my kids occasionally. They are big now and harbour anger towards me for leaving them and their mother. Who can blame them?

Of all the things Eve was, she was never the mother of my children – my original true love.”

*Names have been changed.

Start with a Clean Slate

Why not change course and get on a new path? How hard can that be? If you live with regret, it’s a hard road. What if the worst thing that could ever happen to you, turns into the best thing? Some of the worst things that can happen can open unimaginable doors. The best part of embracing the things that happen, are the lessons that you are able to learn from it. Everything happens for a reason.

A clean slate is the best place to start from after surviving a disaster. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just helps to keep looking forward. I love Edna Mode from the Disney movie, The Incredibles: “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.” This is how you can move on and not look back.

 

Closure is overrated. Not everyone is interested in giving it to you. So, do the things that help you to move forward on your own. Is there something that you regret? Then reconcile yourself to your choices, decisions and actions to take responsibility for what you created. And yes, you created it. Some things you’ll just have to live with.

If you ran from your past problems, don’t expect those who had to clean up your messes to welcome you back with open arms. Roll up your selves, get to work, and don’t expect help. Grow up, and deal with it. You are in no position to demand, and that is the truth.

For those of you who are the ones left to deal with the carnage of someone else’s mess, don’t despair. Your help will come from the sources where you least expect it. And, Karma is real. Leave those who have caused you harm alone, and watch the show. The best advice I ever received from a friend? Never take revenge or retaliate. People’s deeds will always catch up with them, and what comes around goes around. Whatever you do will come back to you, and it’s worse on the back end.

Getting up and dusting yourself off will boost your self esteem, self worth, and earn you respect. Your value in other people’s eyes will increase, and you won’t ever let anyone take what you’ve gained from you. In fact, you won’t be interested in those that were a part of your negative past. You’ll only be focused on those who are part of your positive future. You don’t need anyone from your past that is only interested in destroying your future.

 

Interesting…

Today, I’ve read an article that I’m going to repost here. I’ll just leave this right here.

http://shesahomewrecker.com/from-a-husband-my-biggest-mistake-my-affair/

It’s an eye opening read.

What does this have to do with business? Well, for one thing it can destroy your family and other relationships. Business is about building relationships, not destroying them. There is a bleed over. It’s hard to be able to keep up a house of cards that affects everyone around you. Deception is the one thing that you can count on being revealed at the worst time, and with devastating consequences. You really can lose it all.

Let’s face it, you really can’t trust someone with no integrity, scruples, or morals. They don’t make the greatest business partners, because they don’t really value much. A lack of values is what leads to this kind of behavior. It also proves, that they make poor choices and bad decisions. Not to mention, this is the epitome of a lack of loyalty. The backbone that any business relationship is built on it. Proving that this person can’t be trusted. Period. Many a person’s downfall has been because of an affair. And, rock bottom ain’t pretty.

There’s a saying: “Behind every great man is a woman. Behind every great man’s downfall, is a woman.” Now that’s powerful. This holds true for women as well. Learn well from those who have fallen from grace. But beware, not all people who have been betrayed will give you the benefit of the doubt. Proving that you’re selfish, immature, and willing to hurt others so that you can get an ego boost will come back to haunt you. You’ll lose your self respect, further plummeting your self esteem. The people you love will want nothing to do with you, and you’ll only have yourself to blame. Not to mention lost respect, and disappointment of those that know you. Not the ideal business partner to say the least. Play at your own risk.

For those of you smart enough to learn from this guy, kudos to you. He was one of the lucky ones that was able to turn it around. Not everyone will be given this chance, and he really doesn’t deserve it. But, at least he is going to consistently spend his time making amends. And for that, he deserves some praise. Too bad, he had to hurt the ones he loved to feed his ego. Ego really is the enemy, don’t let it take you place of guilt and shame. With so much at stake, recovery may not be possible, and it truly will be your own fault.