I recently had the pleasure of having Jamie Lerner on the LifeBlood podcast to talk about personal responsibility and how we can get more of it in our lives.
You can find her episode here.
Jamie shared some of the wisdom she’s learned over her career as a practicing psychotherapist and now a coach. I found it to be so impactful I wanted to dig deeper into it by writing about it. I’m confident you’ll find value in her suggested practices for taking more personal responsibility in your life.
Here’s what I’ll cover:
- When life is easy and when life is hard
- Why people argue for their limitations and why people don’t take personal responsibility
- How choice is a remedy for a life you don’t want and how to reframe situations and live the life you want
- A practical application of her process
When life is easy and when life is hard
Life is easy when we live in the present moment. When we do this, we’re unencumbered by past trauma and bad feelings. We’re free to engage fully in whatever activity we’re doing.
Life is hard when we live in the past. We all have past trauma and pain, but constantly reliving it keeps us trapped. If you keep thinking what you’ve always thought, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always got.
Why people argue for their limitations and why people don’t take personal responsibility
Have you ever found yourself explaining to someone why you’re not where you want to be? Have you ever tried to justify why things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to? When we argue for the factors that prevent us from getting what we want and use them as a justification, we give away our agency.
Jamie talked about how victimhood is celebrated in society. She talked about how it can keep someone trapped in their current situation, unable to progress to a better life they truly want. It’s dangerous when society does this to an individual, and more dangerous when an individual does it to themselves.
All too often, we spend so much time talking about the things we don’t want. When we fall into that trap, it’s no surprise that’s what we end up having.
The opposite of this is personal responsibility. It’s healing from past trauma and moving toward the better future you desire.
How choice is a remedy for a life you don’t want and how to reframe situations and live the life you want
Jamie talked about the importance of recognizing you have choice. You have the option to take ownership. You can drop your old story-you can stop arguing for your limitations. You can rewrite that old story into your new story.
She encourages to ask ourselves this question; “what do I want in this situation?” She tells us once we realize the situation is not creating the problem, that how we’re thinking about it is creating the problem, we can reframe it.
We have the choice to think about every situation how we want.
How we look at something makes all the difference.
A practical application
Think about someone who has a job they don’t like. The alarm goes off and they wake up in a bad mood on Monday morning. They spend their time in shower feeling anxious about the week. Stuck in traffic, they’re frustrated and angry. When they get to work, they spend their time hating their life, counting down the hours till they can leave.
We all know someone living this nightmare, maybe you have personal experience with it. It’s an awful situation and my heart goes out to anyone trapped in it.
What would your advice to them be (aside from “find a new job”)? Jamie’s would be “reframe and shift your thinking.” Here’s an alternative world to the one I just described.
The alarm goes off, you wake up realizing you’ll have the opportunity to spend time with or check in on family and friends. In the shower, you recognize and are grateful for the amazing feeling of hot water on your body. In the car, you cherish the time when you’re able to catch up on your favorite podcasts. At work, you embrace the challenge of bringing positivity into every interaction and to brighten the day of the person you’re communicating with.
“You see” Jamie tells us, “when you feel like you have choice, you’re in charge. You’re 100% in control.”
When you find yourself getting aggravated by what’s on TV, turn it off. Don’t like what you’re seeing on Facebook, close the app.
Be a good steward of what you let into your mind. Get in the habit of choosing how you think and feel about the situations in your life, and start rewriting and reframing those stories and situations that don’t serve you. You’re in charge.
Please understand, I’m not diminishing or discounting trauma you’ve experienced. Your personal experience is yours and yours alone. I encourage and implore you to get the help you need.
And then I encourage and implore you to recognize the reality that you have the power to choose. You can let your history define your present and your future. Or, you can choose to make your present and your future whatever you want.
Once you take ownership of your ability to make that decision, you’re on the path to living the life you want. Doing so will help you to get more personal responsibility in your life.
If you’d like additional support, I encourage you to reach out to Jamie or one of our Partners who can help you on your journey.
Let us know how we can help. You’re in control.
Here’s the episode of the LifeBlood podcast I referenced:
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