When you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot.
Before working (and practicing) the 12 Steps, playing the victim was my default method of existence. It permeated my every state of being. The way I talked, the way I acted, even the way I thought – all of these thing belie the fact that I saw myself as a victim. I never said “I was angered by this action,” I would say “He made me angry.” This immediately affected the way I thought. I thought “He made me angry.” I thought “She made me yell at her.”
I didn't realize it at the time, but that was the basis for the way I thought about myself. I thought other people made me who I was. I thought was a puppet and they were the puppet-masters. “They make me behave defensively” or “they make me act disrespectfully”. I did not take responsibility for myself.
Now, I try to remember that no one can make me. It is not possible. I can choose to do something, though. So, every day, I choose to try to change my attitudes. I am not perfect at it, by any means. But I choose to from the simplest behaviors – I no longer say someone made me do something. I say I chose to. “I chose to become angry. Next time I will choose to take pause.” That simple shift in words, shifted my thoughts, which shifted my behavior.
I not longer saw myself as a victim. I held myself accountable for my actions by phrasing things in this way. When I realized I was accountable for my own actions and an active participant in my life, a lot of my old destructive behaviors stopped. The program gave me this gift – the gift of the phrase “I choose…”
A meditation for June 10, 2013.
I Choose – India Arie