One of the most valuable and -widely approved as such -realisations in life is that at the end of the day, everyone is responsible for their actions. We build our destiny with our actions and reactions, the way we choose to see situations that are somehow revealed to us during the course of our lives and the way we respond to the barriers around us. They say that barriers exist so long as we let them exist. Is that true?
This is not an easy statement. It is easy to say that only each of us is responsible for the life we live. However, while a lot of it is true, it is not that simple and not that easy. The inequality of barriers in people’s lives is immense. It is certainly much easier for someone who did not have to go through huge amounts of pain and troubles, who happened to be healthy and supported and loved to claim that they own their life, their decisions and their choices. And certainly more difficult for someone who had to face tragic situations out of their control -and I mean really out of their control: situations such as big losses, physical disasters and other examples of life changing incidents- to stay strong and happy and declare that they own their life. Do they own it? When suddenly you lose everything you have, the people you love, when you experience fear, pain and abandonment, how much can you handle?
There are those whose response to barriers is strong and brave, but there are those who are by nature more sensitive, more fragile and more vulnerable, and for them sometimes it looks like there is no way back. Is it really their choice? Do we want to think that there are people who really want to spend a life in the gutter? In pain? Who would possibly cherish or want or choose that option??
You can definitely now argue that the way they treated and responded to their losses and troubles is only their choice, whether they are conscious of it or not…I m still not convinced. To be honest, I don’t know. And even if it is, isn’t it very unfair for some people to have to suffer immensely in order to be able to accept their struggles, fight for the best and try to take responsibility for their lives, while for others, everything runs smoothly, making it much more easier for them to chase their dreams and define their present?
And yet, while it is true that the receptivity to, acceptance or rejection of situations, the angle under which we face them and the meaning we choose to give to harmful experiences defines a lot each and every single one of us, I am finding it really problematic to accuse some people who seem to be unhappy for the absence of happiness in their lives. I m finding hard to point fingers and firmly say that if they are unhappy it is mostly their fault because they are the only responsible for their situation. It is cruel and inhuman to be that sure about it. Yes, there are ways of improving bad circumstances, there are ways of protecting yourself from getting hurt, there are ways of shaping your future with determination, hard work, firm decisions that you make-and there is certainly the potential of getting out of troublesome situations as a winner. And there is a big amount of personal responsibility in that process, no doubt. But, having said that, it s also important to remember that for some people, this road of taking ownership of their own life might be longer and more painful. And instead of judging them, we could make an effort to understand their challenges and hold their hands.
The reason why I am raising this is because I ‘ve heard so many times people arguing that, if someone suffers or cant seem to find their way in life, it is mainly their responsibility and no one can do anything about it. Yes, it is true that you cant do much in terms of changing the way one person sees the world-although you can always be a positive influence. But what you can surely do, is to not rush to judge or pity, but try to understand a small part of their journey.
Of course painful situations and troubles should in no case be used as an excuse for not trying and not fighting for the lives we cherish. There should always be a way to follow a light even through the hardest times. But at the same time, we should always keep in mind and respect that everybody’s journey is different, everybody’s past is different, everybody’s character is different and everybody’s influences from the day they are born shape the way they afford to define their lives.
And it wouldn’t hurt to also keep in mind that, no matter how much we stand in our own two feet, how much we take our lives in our hands, how strong we are, how we shape our lives as individuals, people around us do matter. Much more than we think. Our family, our friends and our loved ones. How much easier is for someone who has strong and supportive people around them to rise and become happy and successful? And what is success at the end of the day without having the people we love around us? In fact, the people that surround us are crucial to our journey towards self-realisation and life ownership. This comes as a bit of a contradiction, since individual responsibility does not include others, as per term. However, individual responsibility in life should not preclude the incomparable power of companions in life, who, essentially, are the people who hold our hands while we are climbing up the stairs to reach that level of happiness and success.
Being powerful and successful and happy surely is associated with taking ownership of your own life. But this ownership becomes so much more meaningful and valuable when it coexists with companionship, honest relationships, mutual encouragement, love and synergy.
Yes, each of us have to make the final calls about our life direction. But while we are in the process of doing so, let us take a second to be tolerant and empathetic towards others’ struggles. It never takes the same amount of time and effort for everyone to define their destiny, if ever. Whether we are able to define our life or not, we should definitely be able to cherish good people around us, value each other’s importance in developing our own sanity and build our self worth and realisation upon solidarity, encouragement and mutuality.