On this particular Sunday while Brian was enjoying a morning cycling ride, the kids and I “went to the beach.” Brian made this spacious sand pit in the backyard and it’s been seeing a lot of action lately.
I bring out the speakers, play the “Top Latin” station on Amazon Prime music (which I highly recommend,) turn on the hose and we enjoy some beach time fun in the suburbs.
I was really self conscious about how our neighbors would feel about our loudish outdoor music. “Gosh, I don’t want to bother anybody.” Bothering someone was one of the great sins growing up. I remember my dad in particular being incredibly sensitive to anything that just might disturb anyone else’s lives. Then I recalled all the late night shindigs our adjoining backyard neighbors have had.
I turned up the tunes and hoped they, too, just might enjoy a bit of Ricky Martin and Pitbull. And this made me think about where I get my personal permission in life.
Who makes the rules?
Which led to an ah-ha moment.
When we complain, it’s because we feel powerless.
I bet you can think of someone who always has something negative to say, right? So they’re complaining and complaining and have you noticed if they ever do anything to fix or change their situation? Besides complain?
I was thinking about my conversations and interactions. Sadly, I noticed how many times I often found something to complain about. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve been diving into my heart and soul and have actually been claiming more power over my life and haven’t been griping so much that I was able to notice how often I normally tend to do it.
Wow. The more I thought about past conversations, the more I realized how powerless my perspective was. How I had given away my personal agency to others and to fears. And that realization was infuriating -and saddening.
There’s a common phrase kids pick up.
“YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!”
So far, thankfully, mine haven’t started on it yet -but the day will come. But often, even as adults, we don’t live as our own bosses. Fear does. And, man a-freakin-LIVE, am I tired of Fear being the boss of me.
Screw fear. Fear, you’re a no-good dirty trash bag, is what you are. And why in the world would I want to hand over my personal agency, my personal power, over to you?
Survival? Yeah, that’s the only reason to let fear rule you, right? Stay cautious, always looking out for the danger that’s lurking, keeping your head down so it doesn’t get clipped. It may be low to the ground and suffocating, but you’ll most likely be safe.
But that’s no way to live. Really live. And it doesn’t feel natural, does it? We were meant to stand.
Sure, you probably aren’t going to be zip lining in Costa Rica every weekend and taming crocodiles on your lunch break, but living fearlessly and owning your life doesn’t have to mean drastic changes and dangerous choices.
It means you create your own boundaries. You get to respect yourself. You get to say no and say yes when it feels right. You are your own boss -the boss of your body, your thoughts, your actions (hello, personal responsibility) and your life.
The fear of taking responsibility for ourselves keeps us living powerless, too. And the fear of losing something/someone because we take responsibility for our thoughts/actions/direction. When we’re scared to own our lives, we’d rather pass the buck and blame something else for why things aren’t going the way we want them to. “I didn’t do anything wrong, bad things just keep happening to me.” Or, “So-and-so just won’t let me do such-and-such, so I’m stuck.”
Oh, reeeeaaallly…. (and I’m looking right at myself, because I have so often said those things.)
First off, no one else is the boss of you once you decide to take responsibility for your own life.
Secondly, even in the most extreme of circumstances, we all have a choice -to bend or to stand. So blaming someone else for the direction our lives are going is a copout.
Thirdly, I’m not a big fan of lists, so I’m just going to stop here.
Owning your life may be the scariest thing you’ve ever done. But if you want to see what’s above the grassline, beyond mere survival, you have to stand up and say, “This is me. These are my choices. These are my thoughts. These are my actions.”
You know what kids do when they feel powerless? They lash out or ball up. Fall on the floor kicking and screaming, or assume the fetal position. And that’s what we do when we live in powerlessness. Rage or give up. Or both.
And I don’t want to do that anymore.
I want to own my life -and I take full responsibility for it. That means I get the keys back. I’ve got a license to live and I’m going to make the most of it.
What about you?