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Take Back Your Power and Start Loving Your Life

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Lindsey Kasch

“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.

We make them for everything all the time without even realizing it, pointing the finger at someone or something else, anything or anyone but ourselves.

I didn’t think I made excuses. Blaming people? Who me? No way!

Once I took a real, hard look at my life I realized I was full of excuses and blame—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 call someone back.

Excuses for why I couldn’t do this or that, why I wasn’t good enough, why my life wasn’t what I wished it was, why my financial situation wasn’t the best, why I was upset at someone.

You name it, I had an excuse. I blamed everything and everyone under the sun for why I couldn’t do this or have that, why I felt a certain way, why I wasn’t fulfilled or happy. Nothing was my fault or my responsibility. This was hard to see and even harder to finally admit.

What increased my self-awareness about the excuses I made was a cold, hard dose of reality when I broke up with my fiancé and boyfriend of five years. I chose to leave because it didn’t feel right, but it left me shattered and heartbroken. It became painfully clear that I really had no idea who I was.

I was forced to figure myself out. For the first time ever I was being honest with myself. Brutally honest—honest about everything! Before this happened I had never once stopped to think about my choices and how they had affected my life and the people around me.

I used to think that life happened and I had no control over it. Things happened to me. Life was hard and unfair. It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t happy or 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 boyfriend’s fault. For years I put that responsibility in his hands. I never took responsibility for my actions or myself.

By putting the responsibility of my happiness in his hands I was setting us both up for failure. Figuring this out was just the tip of the iceberg. It made me realize just how often I made excuses and passed blame in all areas of my life. No wonder I wasn’t happy!

You may not think you make excuses or pass blame. You even may find yourself getting irritated when you notice other people doing these things—so how could you be doing them yourself? Or maybe you’re ticked off that I’m insinuating that you do.

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 might be surprised to find just how many excuses you make on a day-to-day basis.

Don’t judge yourself. Just notice what comes up. Really pay attention.

When we continue to make excuses and blame others, we are actually giving our power away.

We are telling ourselves that we have no control over our behaviors, our decisions, our lives, and our feelings. That is just not true!

When we blame others for what we’re going through, we avoid responsibility and perpetuate the problem.

Excuses hold us back from being the best we can be, from being honest with ourselves and living authentic lives.

I didn’t understand what any of this meant until started practicing taking responsibility for myself—all of myself. I practiced owning my thoughts, actions, decisions, and feelings. I practiced being honest with myself. I still practice these things, every day.

The key word here is practice.

My boyfriend and I ended up getting back together, but things are different now. We are in a much better place than we were before. In our time apart I learned so much about myself. Most importantly, I learned that the only person responsible for my happiness is me!

Being honest with ourselves isn’t easy. It’s hard to take the finger we’ve been pointing at everyone else and turn it around to ourselves.

We have to be compassionate with ourselves. It’s not easy to start looking at the parts of ourselves we aren’t proud of. It’s not easy to admit how often we do these things. It’s hard to take ownership of our mistakes and problems.

Love and accept these parts of you. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.

I really believe that we are always doing the best we can.

Once we gain awareness of things we want to change about ourselves, we can’t turn around and be mad at ourselves for how we acted in the past. We can only make changes if we’re good to ourselves.

From there, we can start taking full responsibility for our lives instead of making excuses and blaming other people.

This can be hard to do, especially if there seems to be a valid reason to blame someone. For example, say your boyfriend or girlfriend leaves you. Your world is shattered as a result of their actions.

Yes, they left. Yes, they did something to hurt you. You can be sad, brokenhearted, and mad. But stop there. Don’t let their actions ruin your life.

You have the option to let their decision define you, or you can accept what happened, feel all of your feelings, take responsibility for yourself, pick up the pieces, and move forward.

If you let your life fall apart because of something someone else did, you are choosing to do that.

It’s up to us to take situations like this and learn from them, letting ourselves grow and change.

When I started practicing being honest with myself about my choices and my life, I realized that I am in control of my own happiness. This realization changed me. I actually started to really enjoy my life.

Taking responsibility for my life forced me to actually start living it.

The only way we can truly be happy is to realize 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 start living and loving our lives.

Photo by ANDR3WA

Avatar of Lindsey Kasch

About Lindsey Kasch

Lindsey Kasch is a yoga teacher, veterinary technician, and a writer. She authors the blog, Peacefully Present, about yoga, self-discovery and growing from the inside out. She hopes that by sharing lessons from her own journey, she can inspire even just one person to look inside, follow their heart, and discover their true-self.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Johanna_Galt

    Yes! It’s hard to accept responsibility sometimes, but once you get over yourself (compassionately!), it’s SO empowering. Thanks for the kick in the pants ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670260007 Lindsey Roth Kasch

    You’re very welcome! :) And yes…COMPASSIONATELY! Yes, yes :)

  • LoveinTX

    Lindsey you nailed it on the head with this one. I struggling with finding a way to allow myself forgiveness and wanting to do things for me especially if I think someone else will be hurt emotionally. Any suggestions of support would be great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670260007 Lindsey Roth Kasch

    It can be really, really hard to do things for ourselves that we know we need to do, ESPECIALLY if someone else’s feelings are on the line. It’s still so important to follow your heart and do what you need to do for YOU. The way people react or respond is out of our control. Depending on the situation, even if our actions hurt someone, we have to stay true to ourselves. (Obviously going out of our way to be mean or doing bad things isn’t what I’m talking about.) You and ONLY you know what you need. You and ONLY you know what feels right. It’s hard not to let outside opinions dictate our decisions and our thoughts. Putting yourself first and listening to that quiet voice inside of you is the only way to stay true to yourself and to live authentically. Just remember: YOU are the most important person in your world. YOU also have to live with YOU for the rest of your life. Obviously we want to take care of the people we love and do what we can to be there for them, but not if it means compromising ourselves or doing something that doesn’t feel right. Remember to be compassionate with yourself! You are always doing the best you can, always. Let yourself off the hook! :) Sending lots of light and love your way!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/WineGuysRadio Miller High

    Lindsey… How long were you apart from your Boyfriend during the time of you taking care of yourself? My g/f and I split 2 months ago now (after 10 years), my big question is how much communication should one have in your mind during the split. We have kept from seeing each other since that time but commnicate about finanacials and such weekly it seems. We both want the other to take care of ones self… I know every situation is very diiferent. My thought is communicate in gentle ways.. reminders and such. And wow when does one know to try and get back with that person… Thanks !

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670260007 Lindsey Roth Kasch

    As far as communication goes, that is a tough one! It’s different for everyone. It’s also really hard when you’ve been with that person for such a long time. It’s a lot harder to focus on yourself though and what YOU need, if you’re talking a lot. When it comes to knowing when/if to get back together, that is an even harder one! It’s so important to examine why you want them back. It’s easy to go back because it’s comfortable and easy.

    Every situation is so different and nothing is every black and white, but these things are always true:
    If it’s meant to be, it will be! Everything happens as it should, always. Take your time. Learn to listen to your gut; your intuition. Follow your heart. Trust that you know the answers. They are in there somewhere! (The hard part is learning to listen.) Taking care of YOU is the most important thing you can do. Give yourself the time you need and be compassionate with yourself. Self-care is so important! Learning to love yourself is also equally important. It sounds silly, but it’s an essential part of the journey!

    email me at peacefullypresentyoga@gmail.com and I can answer any other questions you have!

  • lv2terp

    Thank you for this post, such great honesty and realization to share, awesome!!! :)

  • Splen Did

    Very good . thanks for the reminder :)

  • Jeffrey James

    I agree, blaming circumstances will never lead to a fulfilled life. It’s only when we take responsbility for our lives that we can find the freedom that we really need!

  • Remy

    I know this is an old post, but I think this is great. Thank you for sharing.

  • Frama Willis

    Without DR DAHIRU a lot of people would have been dead through heart break. My case is not different from heart break, I am married woman with 3 kids and there was a time when i was having problem with my husband because he was having an affair outside our marriage and this was making me feel bad. So i tried finding solution to my problem by reading a lot of relationship tips on the internet and that was how i came in contact with DR DAHIRU contact details and through the help of DR DAHIRU my husband left the girl he was having affair with and he came back to me and our kids. After a job well done by DR DAHIRU i felt that it will be unfair if i keep this secret to myself and that is why i am going to drop the contact details of DR DAHIRU right now, They are: arewaspecialisttemple@yahoo.com or add him on facebook (Arewa Dahiru) To enable you have a taste of his nice work

  • illegible

    i recently moved in with my friend and she is all about taking responsibility for ones actions and shes trying to better me as well but im not sure how to take responsibility i generally admit that i messed up and i tell her ill work on it which i do and within a couple weeks im much better than i was when i moved in but whenever i make a tiny mistake she goes off about how im making excuses and maybe i am and just dont notice and she goes on to say ill try doesn’t count as taking responsibility, i dont want to lose her as a friend but its definitely happening slowly but surely what do you suggest i do differently to take responsibility before its too late

  • darawin

    darawin

  • Bestrong

    Thank you for your wise words. I was ready to confront my husband and put all the blame on him. This article made me stop and think and take a look at myself. Thank you.

  • Nichole T.

    I needed this. Thank you.