The Choice is Yours
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
The Choice is YoursWhat’s holding you back might be—you!
What can make taking personal responsibility challenging is that the word responsibility, in Western culture, often has a sense of obligation or burden associated with it. Many people think the following: “If I find that I have responsibility for a certain situation or feeling, then that means I’m obligated to do something about it.” But the word simply means the ability to respond, and you always have a choice in how you do this: You can choose to continue responding to something the way you have been, or you can decide on another course of action. It’s up to you.
What also can make taking personal responsibility challenging is a reluctance to evaluate your choices because you don’t want to be blamed or blame yourself for poor ones. It’s the ego’s right/wrong model. The Authentic Self isn’t concerned with right and wrong. It’s only concerned with learning, and utilizes the evaluative or What works better? approach to life. So if your intention is to live from within a Soul-Centered context, what you want to do is accept what is without judgment, take 100 percent responsibility for your choices, and begin making more positive choices. After all, one really good definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
For this exercise it’s also important to recognize that the word responsibility is often paired with the word commitment. Making that connection is a mistake in that it will tend to limit your willingness to consider other choices that may be more productive. So when you engage in the following process, please divorce these two concepts from each other. All you want to do is consider the possibility of other choices. You don’t want to commit to doing anything different at this time. We are simply asking you to consider other options. When you do the process, we think you’ll see what we mean.
- Center your awareness in your heart and consciously look for the Loving Essence within. Allow yourself to identify a current situation that you would like to be different.
Example: I’ve wanted to write a children’s book for some time now, but I don’t ever seem to get around to starting it.
- Are you aware of any choices (inner and/or outer) you’re presently making that tend to maintain the situation as it is?
Example: Well, inwardly I’m aware that when I think of writing, I tell myself that what I have to say isn’t really very important anyway. And outwardly I choose to do other things, the result of which is that I put off writing until some future unspecified time.
- Take your time and consider the possibility of other choices that might produce different results. It’s not that you have to do anything differently; can you simply see any alternatives?
Example: Inwardly, I could choose to tell myself that what I want to share is valuable and worthwhile, and outwardly, of course, I could choose to schedule some specific time to sit down and write.
- Without committing to doing anything different at this time, take a few minutes and visualize yourself in the process of making the new choices in the present, as if you were making them now.
Example: Here I am, sitting at my desk. I’m aware of the impulse inside of myself to write a beautiful children’s book. I’m choosing to honor that impulse, and I’ve scheduled two hours in the morning, four days a week, for writing. And here I am happily writing, and the words are just pouring out of me. I feel wonderful.
Do you notice any difference in your awareness? Many people perceive a subtle shift in their consciousness just from doing this visualization once.
Our experience has shown us that doing Step 4—visualizing yourself engaging in the new behavior—daily for a minimum of 32 consecutive days, often results in extraordinary shifts in a person’s behavior. In case you’re wondering why we use 32 days, there’s something powerful about going beyond a typical month of 30 or 31 days that serves to anchor a new behavior pattern in consciousness.
We recommend creating a calendar with 32 boxes, starting with the date you begin. So if June 5 happens to fall on a Tuesday, that would be day one and you’d build the calendar from there. June 6 would be day two, and so on. The best time for most people to do this short process seems to be in the evening just prior to going to sleep. In fact, many find it helpful to keep the calendar on their pillows as a reminder to do the process. Then, in the morning, they place a check in the box representing the previous evening. It doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes each time, and we believe you’ll find the results well worth the effort.