Life is super hard. No, like really.
It would absolutely take away from the transparency of this book if it failed to address reality. Optimism does not, by any means, speak to a lack of realism; it is a choice to seek out and acknowledge the good in anything that can be deemed good or bad. Optimism therefore is the acknowledgment of REAL experiences through a positive lens. Although life can be extremely difficult and trying, your lens is still YOURS. People may cloud it, circumstance may fog it, experiences may scratch it; but will you choose to see through that cloudy, foggy, and scratched up lens? Or will you fix it?
One of the most important distinctions that you can learn to make in this lifetime is the one between fault and responsibility. Not just the definitions, but the distinction. Fault is associated with things that have ALREADY occurred - things of the past - such as the actions of others and the choices that they have made. Responsi-bility is our ability to control our responses. Ironically, the dictionary states that responsibility is having the “duty to deal with something.” Whereas fault is defined as “misguided or dangerous action or habit.”
You see where we are going with this, right? It’s that accountability thing again. This time presenting itself in an even tougher pill to swallow. It is all too common and reasonable to focus on who or what is at fault when something happens – especially to us. But who or what is responsible for what we do about it? The answer demands a look in the mirror – which we will most certainly cover in a following chapter entitled “How to face yourself”.
I know someone who was molested as a child, on multiple occasions, by 4 older children and teens – boys and girls. Each time happening on weekends, which were supposed to be spent in safe arms, via a family-court order that was not consistently upheld. The molestation started from the age of 6 and went up to 11…not typically the ages when children let their parents know about these things – and so he didn’t. Don’t feel bad though. This child would later take that learned wrongful behavior and pass it on to younger kin very close to him up until his early teens. This child was me. And to be clear, I am saying that I did to others what was done to me, up until the age of 14 or so. This was a confusing and blurry time of life for me because I did not yet fully understand the effects of such things, they had never been explained to me, and I had not the slightest clue as to the impact that being molested could have on someone’s life. So having a 13 year old girl ask me to pull down my pants when I was in the first grade was…unfamiliar.
It took decades before I was to learn the distinction between fault and responsibility. So for years I indulged in defaulting to a “this is my fault” internal dialogue, and a lack of forgiveness for myself and for the people who hurt me. I even held a grudge toward the person who was supposed to take care of me on weekends, thinking that… had this person done what they were supposed to, I would have never been molested. Most importantly and detrimentally, I held a grudge against myself for harming others. To be completely transparent with you, there were recently still days when this internal frustration arose – but thankfully the practice of facing myself and my fears have allowed room for the ability to let go of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve me.
It was not until almost 20 years after first experiencing this, that I realized and learned how much dwelling and holding on to on my past would ultimately bring me down and hold me back. I was slapped in the face with a harsh reality – that being… there was no changing my past, and that I now had a responsibility to channel something good from it. And in regard to forgiving myself, I had to accept that this was not my fault. There is no room for fault. The quest for fault leads to external circumstances that require internal addressing. It very well could be someone’s else fault for what happened to me as a child, but it became my responsibility to deal with it head-on.
My childhood never got any easier. I would go on to experience an actual famine in my household by the age of nine. I knew what an eviction was before learning multiplication. I witnessed murder before going to middle school. All while hiding a dark secret from everyone I knew. I still had no entitlement to an excuse, nor hall pass from responsibility.
It VERY WELL may be someone else’s fault for things that have occurred in your life. You STILL have a responsibility and duty to seek out and find the good in it, or the good that you can do because of it. If you do not want to do this, seek out the alternative and see how far It gets you; I’ve tried. I share these things with you because it took me years to find and grasp the power that I actually have, which is fueled by my responsibility; and I’m hoping to help you find your power way sooner.
If you have been broken, you have a responsibility to pull yourself together; even if it wasn’t your fault. In the midst of pulling yourself together, you will lift weights you never thought possible. Rather than seeking an imaginary “easier” time in our lives, we can be more effective and PROactive by simply growing to match the capacity of our responsibilities. Life truly can be brutal at times, but if the alternative to finding good in everything is…folding, then I will blindly chase every ounce of positivity I possibly can. We all should.
I also do not regret to inform you that once you are aware of your responsibility, fault is no longer a valid excuse. This is tough because the fact that you don’t always place yourself where you end up, is an easy and truthful way out of facing yourself. But it is equally as much a choice as it is truth. Most of the time, we are already smart enough to identify a change that we must make, but we won’t because it’s uncomfortable. Now, if life is already giving you a hard time, and clearly trying to communicate a necessary shift in your being, yet you’re still choosing to resist it… you will continue to manifest a repeat of the same lesson in different forms. This is not cool. We experience this in relationships, finances, workplaces, our bodies, goals, and more.
There are real things happening in your life, and that is not to be downplayed nor discounted. No matter where you are, or wherever you’ve come from to get here, you’re experiencing or have experienced a system/environment of some sort. Some systems and environments are extremely difficult to overcome; others have more breathing room for flourishing. Neither of these are in your control, and the former will present a hell of a lot more reason to give up… on everything. When at the point of feeling as though your best option is to give up, there is no secret ingredient to escaping that. It’s just you and choice. And this is why affirmations (we’ll dive into this later) are so crucial – because motivation is never there when you actually need it. It’s there when you’re searching for a YouTube video to get you going. It’s there when the right people doing the right things are around you. It’s there when you’re seeing results and manifesting success. But when you are down, like really down…motivation is absent. Motivation does not present itself in times like these because it requires YOU as a thriving vessel.
We have to stop wishing and looking for our situations to change or be “better”. YOU have to breathe life into yourself. YOU have to gas yourself up. YOU have to break the wall that your back is against. And in case you missed what was mentioned a moment ago…motivation needs YOU, not the other way around. Nothing good may present itself and be accepted, by a person who has not mentally, spiritually, physically, or emotionally positioned themselves to receive it. In the following chapters, we will push this conversation forward by discussing how to position ourselves in a way that allows us to experience a whole-fulfilled experience of the good that life has to offer – the very good that we deserve – because if there is one thing I have learned from going growing through the most trying times of my life, it’s that our capabilities are infinitely fueled, not limited, by our circumstances. If you don’t believe that now, you will by the end of this book.