"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
Lisa Neumann over at Sober Identity wrote this incredibly inspiring post yesterday which, if you want some valuable insight, you'll read. She really is genius.
Anyway, it got me thinking about how we are programmed, at a very young age I suspect, to react to things that happen to or around us. Lisa writes about how, as she progressed through her drinking career, found things to be everyone else's fault.
"It was always someone else’s fault that I hadn’t reached my potential. The sadness is … I really, really, really believed this nonsense. Denial is the word most often heard in recovery. I was in denial about who I was long before I was an active alcoholic. Alcohol was simply the substance that brought me to my knees. I could have redirected course anywhere along my path."
I find this fascinating because I can't fathom blaming anyone else for what happens to me. I can't even fathom blaming anyone else for things that happen around me. It always has been and always will be...my fault. I am responsible for everything that happens to me. While that might sound healthy and normal on the surface, down deep, where it really matters...it's (to paraphrase a poorly written but engaging and entertaining series of novels) fifty shades of fucked up.
Sometimes it's not my fault. Sometimes things are done to me. But when you are raised as I was, it's hard to believe that it can be anyone else's fault. It's a very self-centered way of thinking. Who am I to believe that I am so important that everything that happens is my fault. Seriously? I really am not that pivotal to the world...not even my world. I'm just...me.
As I get older and further into my recovery however, I find that my brethren fall into either Lisa's camp or mine. Either it's someone else's fault or all their fault. There are no "shades of grey" (sorry). It's either black or white; all or nothing.
Why can't we learn to just be? To just accept what has happened for exactly what it is, namely, a series of events that has resulted in an outcome. Some are likely our fault, some are likely someone else's fault. Some are just a result of the universe turning and changing, and some are just plain God doing what He does so well. As my husband says, "It is what it is and that's all it is."
I will bravely accept responsibility for that which I am responsible. But I don't know where to stop. Before I know it, I'm taking on everyone elses missteps as well. Nope...I need to learn to only own what is mine and to leave what isn't alone. Otherwise, it's stealing and I'm just not that kind of girl. I don't take responsiblity for good things that are done by others, why would I take on the bad stuff?
I don't have the answers but at least I'm learning to ask the questions of myself and really think about the answers. And that is progress and that's all I can hope for because progress moves forward.
PS - Yes...I did quote Shakespeare and E.L. James in the same post - get over it. I'm a complicated woman.