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“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
~George Bernard Shaw~
Excuses. We all make them. Even me. There, I said it. Even I have been guilty of making excuses.
We make excuses for everything. We do it all the time, and we do it without even realizing it. It is easy for us to point the finger at someone or something else, anyone or anything but ourselves.
For a long time, I didn’t believe that I made excuses. Blaming other people for my unhappiness? Me?
NOT A CHANCE!
The moment that I had taken a real, close look at my own reflection, is when I finally realized that I was full of excuses and blame. I had excuses for why I was always running late, why I couldn’t start living a healthier life, do the dishes, go out on a Friday night, or even call someone back.
I had made excuses for why I couldn’t do this or even that, why I wasn’t good enough, why my life was not what I wished it was, why my financial situation wasn’t the best, why I was always angry at my husband…
You name it, I had an excuse for it. I blamed everyone and everything under the sun for why I just couldn’t do this or have that, why I felt a certain way, why I wasn’t fulfilled, or even happy with my life. Nothing was ever my fault or even my responsibility. I was completely blind. This was so hard for me to see and even harder to finally admit it.
What woke me up and opened my eyes to the excuses I had been making was a cold, hard dose of reality when my marriage continued to struggle with the same toxic and repetitive patterns week after agonizing week. Fights would break out over the smallest and most trivial things. Those fights would then result in a cold war lasting for days on end. And then just this last week, it happened. I was slapped in the face with reality. This time it wasn’t ME who was screaming obscenities and throwing things. It was my husband! I’ll admit, at first, I was shocked and terrified to see this side of him. Like he told me, I have NEVER seen that side of him before. And we have been married for nearly twenty-five years! My husband when angry usually holds his tongue and keeps his cool. I’m the nutcase who freaks out and throws things when I’m pissed off. But this time, the tables were turned. I had absolutely nowhere to run to but God. For three days, I fasted, and prayed, and cried my face off before God, begging Him to open my eyes so that I could see myself, and what I had been doing wrong. I begged him to open my eyes and my ears so that I could see my husband as God was seeing him in that moment, and hear the words he was speaking to me through his anger. God did not show me a raving lunatic, or a madman, instead, He showed me a loving husband who was tired of feeling unappreciated and hurting. He showed me attitudes and behaviors in myself that I had been completely blind to. It was these attitudes and behaviors that had been keeping the crazy cycle that I was trying to get off of going for so long!
When we continue to make excuses and blame others, we are essentially giving our power away. ~Clara J Chauteco
After my husband walked out on me in September 2015, it started to become painfully clear that I really had no clue who I was. It became even more clear to me that I had absolutely no clue of who I was when he kicked me out not once, but twice last year. I had somehow lost myself — inside myself. But even though we had chosen to reconcile our marriage, I still wasn’t fully awake, more like still trapped in a dense fog. I honestly just wasn’t getting it.
Because of the events that have happened over the last couple of years, I have been forced to figure myself out. For the first time ever I am learning how to be honest with myself. Brutally honest – honest about everything! Before all of this happened I had never once stopped to think about my choices and how they had affected my life along with the people around me.
Because of the abuse that I endured as a child, I learned to believe that life just happened and I had no control over it. Things happened to me. Life was hard and unfair. It was not my fault that I was never happy or satisfied and didn’t have what I thought I wanted or needed. It was the fault of those around me.
Since I wasn’t happy or fulfilled, I thought it was my husband’s fault. For years I placed that responsibility in his hands. I never took responsibility for my actions or even myself or my own happiness.
By putting the responsibility of my happiness in my husband’s hands I was setting us both up for failure. Figuring this out was only the tip of the iceberg. It made me realize just how often I made excuses and passed blame in all aspects of my life. No wonder we were both completely miserable!
You may not believe that you make excuses or even pass blame. You even may find yourself getting irritated when you notice other people doing these things – so how could you possibly be doing them yourself? Or perhaps, you are getting a little pissed off that I’m even insinuating that you do.
Sister, if you want to change your life and change the dynamics of your marriage, I challenge you to start taking a look at yourself. Pay attention to your choices, your decisions, and your reasons for doing (or not doing) certain things. You may be surprised to find just how many excuses you make each day.
Don’t judge yourself harshly, sister. Simply notice what comes up, and really pay close attention.
When we continue to make excuses and blame others, we are essentially giving our power away. We are telling ourselves that we have no control over our behaviors, our decisions, our feelings, or our lives. And that’s just not true!
When we blame others for our pain and suffering, we avoid taking responsibility four ourselves thus perpetuating the problem.
Excuses hold us back from becoming the very best we ought to be, from being honest with ourselves and living authentic lives.
I didn’t realize what any of this meant until started practicing taking responsibility for myself – all of myself. And it hasn’t been easy! It is something that I am still learning how to do. I am learning how to practice owning my thoughts, actions, decisions, and feelings. And I am practicing being honest with myself. These are things that I have to consciously practice every day if I expect to see desired changes in myself, my marriage, my family, or any other aspect of my life.
Notice, the key word here is practice. If you want to become good or better yet, great at something, you must practice that certain something in order to master it. Right?
Since my husband and I reconciled, things are a lot different now. Though we still have our struggles, we are in a much better place than we were before. In our time apart I learned a great deal about myself. And I am learning even more about myself still! Above all, I have learned that the only person responsible for my happiness is me!
Being honest with ourselves is not easy. It’s hard to take the finger we have been pointing at everyone else and turn it around to ourselves. Like my mother used to say, “each time you point a finger at someone, you have four more pointing back at yourself.” Ahem… mother is always right! 😉
Taking responsibility for my life forced me to actually start living it. ~Clara J Chauteco
We have to be compassionate with ourselves, though. It’s not easy to begin looking at the aspects ourselves we are not proud of. It is not easy to admit how often we do these things. It’s hard to take ownership of our problems and mistakes.
Love and accept these parts of you. It does not mean that you are a bad person. Just human.
I truly believe that we are always doing the very best that we are able to.
Once we gain awareness of things we need to change about ourselves, we cannot turn around and be mad at ourselves for the way we behaved in the past. We are only able to make changes when we are being good to ourselves.
From there, we are then able to start taking full responsibility for our lives rather than making excuses and blaming other people.
This may be difficult to do, especially if there seems to be a valid reason to blame someone. For example, let’s say your husband leaves you. Your world is shattered as a result of his actions.
Yes, he left. Yes, he did something to hurt you. You can be sad, brokenhearted, and angry. But stop there. Do not let his actions ruin your life!
You have the choice to let his decision define you, or you can accept what happened, feel each and every one of your raw emotions, no matter how painful, take responsibility for yourself, pick up the broken pieces, and move on with your life.
If you let your life fall apart due to something someone else did, you are choosing to do that.
It is up to us to take situations like this and learn from them, letting ourselves grow and change.
When I decided to start being honest with myself about my choices and my life, I realized that I am in control of my own personal happiness, and nobody else. This realization is changing me. And little by little, I am truly beginning to genuinely enjoy my life and my marriage.
Taking responsibility for my life forced me to actually start living it.
The only way we are able to truly be happy is to actually understand that our thoughts, emotions, actions, and decisions are our responsibility and no one else’s.
That is a beautiful thing! No more excuses. No more blame. Just the choice to take our power back and begin living and loving our lives.