Set yourself free!

Responsibility!    Stop the blame game.

Many people throw the blame for their problems onto someone else – usually their partner. When we blame others we opt out of responsibility. We abdicate the possibility for change. We lose our power to make a difference….all in the name of ‘being right’.  A great loss to the relationship!

Ask yourself:

What can I do to change the situation?

What did I do to contribute to this situation?

Did I not trust?

Did I fail to be clear about what I wanted?

Did I choose the wrong time?

Did I fail to stand up for what I believe is true for me?

Did I fail to ask for what I wanted?

Did I not ask enough? Appreciate enough?

Did I not do what I said I would do?

Did I procrastinate?

There is an often quoted saying, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Facing up to truth is a choice. It is at the very core of human nature to blame others. Blame is a form of self-preservation, an escape mechanism for us. We don’t want things to be our responsibility, so we rationalise our actions and go to any extreme to blame others. However, the relationship suffers big time! In protecting ourselves, we damage the relationship.

When we appoint blame, we lose the opportunity to solve a problem. We are more responsible for our decisions than we think. ‘What goes around comes around’. When blaming, we may think we’ve got away  ‘with it’. Think again! Do you really think that we have? What are the real consequences of blaming? Does it work? I expect that the answer is “No”. Here then, is an opportunity to make a real difference. Choose not to blame…….it doesn’t work!

Nothing in our relationship will change unless we begin to do something different. If you want to get something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.

Gandhi put it this way, “We must become the change we seek in the world (relationship) and that takes a decision”.  It’s all in the ability to choose.

How often do we choose to be caring, honest, accepting and responsible?

These attributes don’t seem to be ‘natural’ in our society!

Maybe we get caught up in the following?

Not interested enough in others?    Too busy getting self together?

–  detracting from CARING / AWARENESS

Manipulating?  Defensive? Not wanting to deal with consequences?

–  detracting from HONESTY

Power games?  I’m not good enough? Fixed on “getting it right”?  Socialised black and white thinking?

–  detracting from ACCEPTING

Taking the easy route? Following others? Fear of making the “wrong” decision? Blaming others?

–  detracting from RESPONSIBILITY

If you catch yourself blaming, choose to stop, and feel good about being responsible!

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Responsibility vs Blame

What does Responsibility mean to you?

To me, it used to have connotations of obligation, accountability, ownership, and being loaded with a generous pinch of judgment and self-blame or liability. It conjures up images of my childhood,   “You need to be responsible”.   It was good to learn that it’s about choosing our actions and with them come their consequences.  To not blame others and therefore to have much more control over my live,  even if I didn’t want to own that responsibility all the time! It’s much easier to blame. Now I realise that blaming makes me a victim to circumstances rather than feeling in control of my own life.

“You take responsibility for your life and a ‘terrible’ thing happens… no one to blame!”

Responsibility is your ‘ability to respond”.  WOW!  That’s a pretty cool way of looking at it!  So by taking responsibility, you are acknowledging your ability to respond.  You are not a passive recipient in the world but an active entity!   I loved the freedom and power that came with seeing it in this new light: responsibility: your “response ability” or “ability to respond”.

So how does it apply to real life?

Embracing that we have control over what happens next.  We  take control of the situation and put the ball back in our court.  By taking responsibility for our health,  life,  actions, we take back our power and become free to respond and move forward in any way we choose.   By not taking responsibility or holding others responsible, we give our power away, we are effectively saying I have no control over that, which leaves us powerless to change and grow or influence others and circumstances.

It would appear that taking responsibility takes us to a point for maximum growth.

Here’s to stepping into our own power!

The value of a coach

In amongst the hustle, bustle and drama that the lead up to Christmas seems to always generate, make sure you take time to have a look at your efforts for the year that will soon be over. Many of your goals and targets may have been met and others may still be sitting there almost untouched – alive and mysteriously evasive.

Every time I have taken the time to look at the ‘why’ of my achievements and my failures I have been illuminated. For some reason I can suddenly see clearly that my ‘misses’ would have been expected had I bothered to lift my head up from its traditional position (bum upwards and keep working!!) and taken a look around. Of course, some targets, I just wasn’t invested enough in. You’ll know what I mean when I say, “It would be nice if…” Those kinds of goals are always, always, always pipe dreams that get no real effort so it’s not really a surprise we don’t get there.

What really strikes me are the ones I wanted, put a big effort into and still came up short. I’m usually mystified until I talk it out with one of the team. Inevitably they ask a question that requires some introspection and I see that I have an investment in not reaching that particular goal. That’s when real insight and understanding happen. When I reach out and invite an outsider into my world – they inevitably see what I can’t. I guess that’s what coaching really is.

Written by Mary Blackburn

What’s your choice?

“Where in your life are you avoiding a choice?  Are you willing to make self-honouring choices today?  If you don’t make clear and conscious choices, you’ll be stuck with whatever shows up. ” Iyanla Vanzart

This is quite a confronting quote. But there is so much in it… The quote eludes to how even not making a choice is actually making a choice.  “Are you willing to make self-honouring choices today?”  Wow, this is important, how often in life are the choices you make in line with what you really want, really feel, really believe.  By making self-honouring choices you start to make different sorts of decisions and live a life more in line with your values and meeting your needs.  This is powerful.

Are there things in your life that you are putting off and hoping will just go away? We never get to hide from ourselves, so if it is a life choice that you are putting off and it affects your wellbeing, taking ownership and doing what you need to do… can be very liberating.

Sometimes it is challenging to stand up for yourself or to have the courage to make decisions or choices that other people might not understand and might not approve of.  One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your health is to be true to yourself.

Make choices in line with your value systems and in line with your beliefs.   Sometimes it might make you unpopular, sometimes it might upset others.  Dr Demartini once explained: “If I have to choose to (upset) myself or (upset) somebody else, I choose them”, while this may come across as quite a selfish point of view in some ways it makes sense,  at the end of the day, many people will come in and out of your lives, but you are stuck with you and your choices forever.

Also, are you ‘saving’ someone’s feelings OR saving yourself from the consequences!?

And one interesting thing I have observed is how often the choices you make will actually inspire people or encourage people, empowering them or giving them permission to make self honouring choices as well.

Have the courage to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself and make the choices you know you need to make. “If you don’t stand for something, you may fall for anything.”

You will always be glad you did… and know that whatever choice you end up making will be exactly the right one for you at this moment and for this circumstance.

Deep down you know exactly what it is you want and need  … trust that.

Why self-compassion is healthier than self-esteem


The great angst of modern life is this: no matter how hard we try, no matter how successful we are, no matter how good a parent, worker, or spouse we are – it’s never enough. There is always someone richer, thinner, smarter, or more powerful, someone that makes us feel small in comparison. Failure of any kind, large or small, is unacceptable. The result: therapist’s offices, pharmaceutical companies, and the self-help aisles of bookstores are besieged by people who feel they’re not okay as they are. What to do?

One response has come in the form of the self-esteem movement. Over the years there have been literally thousands of books and magazine articles promoting self-esteem – how to get it, raise it and keep it. The pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion, but research indicates this has serious downsides. Our culture has become so competitive we need to feel special and above average to just to feel okay about ourselves (being called “average” is an insult). Most people, therefore, feel compelled to create what psychologists call a “self-enhancement bias” – puffing ourselves up and putting others down so that we can feel superior in comparison. However, this constant need to feel better than our fellow human beings leads to a sense of isolation and separation. And then, once you’ve gotten high self-esteem, how do you keep it? It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride: our sense of self-worth bounces around like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lock-step with our latest success or failure.

One of the most insidious consequences of the self-esteem movement over the last couple of decades is the narcissism epidemic. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me, examined the narcissism levels of over 15,000 U.S. college students between 1987 and 2006. During that 20-year period, narcissism scores went through the roof, with 65 percent of modern-day students scoring higher in narcissism than previous generations. Not coincidentally, students’ average self-esteem levels rose by an even greater margin over the same period. Self-esteem has also been linked to aggression, prejudice and anger towards those who threaten our sense of self-worth. For example, some kids build up their egos by beating up other kids in the playground. It’s hardly healthy.

Of course we don’t want to suffer from low self-esteem either, so what’s the alternative? There is another way to feel good about ourselves: self-compassion. Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes awry or we notice something about ourselves we don’t like, rather than being cold or harshly self-critical. It recognizes that the human condition is imperfect, so that we feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. It also involves mindfulness — the recognition and non-judgmental acceptance of painful emotions as they arise in the present moment. Rather than suppressing our pain or else making it into an exaggerated personal soap opera, we see ourselves and our situation clearly.

It’s important to distinguish self-compassion from self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to the degree to which we evaluate ourselves positively. It represents how much we like or value ourselves, and is often based on comparisons with others. In contrast, self-compassion is not based on positive judgments or evaluations, it is a way of relating to ourselves. People feel self-compassion because they are human beings, not because they are special and above average. It emphasizes interconnection rather than separateness. This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself. It also offers more emotional stability than self-esteem because it is always there for you – when you’re on top of the world and when you fall flat on your face.

Self-compassion was also found to be less contingent on things like physical attractiveness or successful performances than self-esteem

Moreover, those in the self-compassion condition took more personal responsibility for the event than those in the self-esteem condition. This suggests that – unlike self-esteem – self-compassion does not lead to blaming others in order to feel good about oneself.

Instead of endlessly chasing self-esteem as if it were the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, therefore, I would argue that we should encourage the development of self-compassion. That way, whether we’re on top of the world or at the bottom of the heap, we can embrace ourselves with a sense a kindness, connectedness and emotional balance. We can provide the emotional safety needed to see ourselves clearly and make whatever changes are necessary to address our suffering. We can learn to feel good about ourselves not because we’re special and above average, but because we’re human beings intrinsically worthy of respect.

To test your own self-compassion level, read more about self-esteem, find videos, guided meditations, and exercises, go to www.self-compassion.org.  

 Kristin Neff, Ph.D. in The Power of Self-Compassion

As we sow, we reap!

 “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.”   –  George Bernard Shaw

Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where she’s/he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry – his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing… he becomes nothing.

How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I’ll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.

We’re comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.

Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land…and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.

Remember the land doesn’t care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn.

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn’t care what we plant…success…or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal…or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant must return to us.

You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.

Ref.  The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Taking Responsibility

What does Responsibility mean to you?

If you blame!  And who doesn’t?  Read on.

To me, it used to have connotations of obligation, accountability, ownership, and being loaded with a generous pinch of judgment and self-blame or liability. It conjures up images of my childhood,   “You need to be responsible”.   It was good to learn that it’s about choosing our actions and with them come their consequences.  To not blame others and therefore to have much more control over my live,  even if I didn’t want to own that responsibility all the time! It’s much easier to blame. Now I realise that blaming makes me a victim to circumstances rather than feeling in control of my own life.

“You take responsibility for your life and a ‘terrible’ thing happens… no one to blame!”

Responsibility is your ‘ability to respond”.  WOW!  That’s a pretty cool way of looking at it!  So by taking responsibility, you are acknowledging your ability to respond.  You are not a passive recipient in the world but an active entity!   I loved the freedom and power that came with seeing it in this new light: responsibility: your “response ability” or “ability to respond”.

So how does it apply to real life?

Embracing that we have control over what happens next.  We  take control of the situation and put the ball back in our court.  By taking responsibility for our health,  life,  actions, we take back our power and become free to respond and move forward in any way we choose.   By not taking responsibility or holding others responsible, we give our power away, we are effectively saying I have no control over that, which leaves us powerless to change and grow or influence others and circumstances.

It would appear that taking responsibility takes us to the point for maximum growth. It is so rich with potential and so powerful!                                                 Here’s to stepping into our own power!