People find all sorts of creative ways to avoid owning responsibility for themselves and doing their inner work. Perhaps the thing that’s most scary to people is their shadow selves, their own demons. They spend their lives running from themselves.

I learned from Marshall Rosenberg’s work on nonviolent communication how most people use manipulation to get what they want from others and usually aren’t even aware that they’re doing it. How are you abdicating responsibility for yourself and your well-being? What or who are you looking to to save you? What thing, in your mind, is going to save you from yourself, or save you from your misery? What is that thing that, when you get it, will finally make you happy? (another thing we learn in Marshall Rosenberg’s book is that when we say someone or something makes us feel a certain way we are abdicating our responsibility.) Forget that. That’s a game of cat and mouse.

Who or what are you blaming for your discontent? If you’re in an unhealthy situation, change it. But your work is always inside. You might not have control over your physical situation, but you always have control over the part of you that nothing can touch. Your work is always inside. People have found their greatest freedom in concentration camps when their bodies were being tortured. Turn inward. Do your work. Stop running from yourself.

Look your misery right in the face with all its ugliness and own that misery.

Acknowledge how you’ve contributed to it and are contributing to it. What steps must you take to be free from misery? You have the key. Stop slyly sneaking it under the table into someone else’s hand.

Written by Brittany Forrester


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