Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Emotional Responsibility

Responsibility seems to be the buzzword in life lately. Yes, being responsible entails going to work, taking care of ourselves, paying bills on time, making sure the dog is fed.I find that making sure that the bills are paid is getting easier. Feeding the dog is necessary. Getting up and going to work is a given (though I am still always prone to think about picking up the phone when it's a beautiful day out and calling in sick, something that I don't even do anymore). But, when it comes to emotional responsibility, that requires more attention.

Emotional responsibility is one of those gray areas. We are accountable for our actions. We are responsible to ourselves and in turn, we are able to give ourselves more freely to others. When we are wrong, we should admit it, without excuses or blame. Many times we take responsibility for other people's actions so that we do not have to focus on our own. I know that I have taken on many circumstances in my life that did not belong to me. I did not have the ability to create necessary healthy boundaries to enable relationships to grow. I simply took on someone else or someones issues and made them my own. This, along with undue stress, caused me to expend far too much energy in places I had no business.

Two days ago I realized that I am becoming more emotionally responsible each day. I let go of anger and rationalize. I think more before I react. I try to speak from reason and not from the seat of my pants. And in turn, I feel as if I have taken small steps forward in my own process. I own up to my emotions and try to be completely honest. Something that was always inconsistent.It's a difficult process, however.

Personally speaking, I had spent years shunning responsibility on a whole for the easy road. I skated through life blaming and speaking about change without ever really changing. I stopped drinking, yes, but the issues and emotions that came with that eventually overwhelmed me to the point of several confrontations and conflicts within myself.I have accepted the fact that I may be emotionally challenged at times, but I am far from irresponsible. I understand what I am able to control what I am solely responsible for. And, I make mistakes. I falter occasionally. We all do.

I look at my emotional life in terms of a bank account these days (and why wouldn't I? I didn't have a bank account for almost four years because of my prior actions and now I have those silly checks with cartoons again). I have gotten out of emotional debt and am now working on replenishing my "savings" account. While I still worry about bouncing "emotional" checks, I've allowed myself some overdraft protection. I save, I spend, but I keep it as balanced as possible. I am allowed to ask for help when balancing my emotional checkbook.

And to me, that again solidifies my need to be honest with myself. It's easier than blame. It allows me to contain my own life and do what's best for me, and in turn, continue to do what's best for those I love.

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