Putting Down The Excuses: The Journey of Personal Responsibility
Leslie Juvin-Acker Explains How To Let Go Of Excuses and Take Personal Responsibility
Excuses are means by which we abdicate personal responsibility and place it upon people, things, and circumstances outside of ourselves. The logic goes: if I place my performance upon the dependence of other things outside of myself and outside of my control then if they don’t work out it’s not “my fault” and it’s “not my responsibility.”
Deconstructing The Excuse
I’m a professional excuse identifier. I hear excuses every day. It’s my job to sniff them out and put them back into my clients’ hands like hot potatoes. If you want to talk to someone who isn’t going to hold you accountable for the excuses and “reasons” why you’re failing yourself and those to whom you made commitments then go to a therapist. In here – in this safe space – we work through excuses and use them as launching points for success because hidden inside of excuses are our own worst fears. Acknowledge and transform the fear and the excuses have nothing to hold them together.
It can be shocking for some clients who are not used to having their excuses held to the fire and the facades they build to protect themselves held to a clean mirror. One client came to me justifying her decision to stay addicted to pain pills all the while resting in a relationship that made her unhappy. I asked her if staying in the relationship enabled her to continue taking the pills so she didn’t have to go back to work and live life alone. She was shocked by this assessment only to go back to retelling the story as if re-telling it would change how she felt about the miserable situation she found herself in – ruminating, as I call it. I asked her quite frankly, “How is that story working out for you?”
These stories are self-serving in a way that they make us look like victims instead of perpetrators or deniers. That things beyond our control happened to us. And, because of that, there is nothing within our control that we can do to overcome our circumstances and how we feel about them.
Examining The Purpose of Excuses
It’s tough to admit that we walked into our problems fully aware of what we were doing but without being fully aware of the specific intent. I hear a lot of “Why-me’s?” and “Why this?” In this sense the work we do together is less causal and more teleological in reasoning: What’s the purpose instead of the cause of what we do? For some odd reason, we humans tend to extricate ourselves from the causes of our suffering and seem to magically “find ourselves” lost in the unwanted consequences of our actions. Following along that line of reasoning, I get my clients to look at how they can use the fears hidden behind the excuses to grow and what purpose they serve in developing greater self awareness and decisive action.
Excuses and the situations we put ourselves in are distracting. If I distract myself long enough by false drama, then I won’t have to be held accountable by making the decision that is best for me and to follow through with what my soul agreed to learn and accomplish.
Unmasking The Fear
Behind excuses are a million and one fears – most are common – fear of being alone, not being good enough, not having enough, etc… excuses distract ourselves and others from what we fear most as if being honest about the fears that haunt us is worse than the drama we allow unfold in its place.
By accepting the fear, reasoning with it until the resistance in the mind has been fully unraveled, the excuse that served as its mask can be lifted away.
By getting directly to the fear, then the loving intention and the higher wisdom can finally be enlightened. This higher wisdom is what we signed up to learn this whole time. It was the excuses and the self-sabotaging behavior that made us take the long route to understand what was already there, waiting patiently to be understood and integrated.
Purifying The Heart Is A Process
Releasing excuses, embracing and transmuting fears, and learning the higher wisdom is a process. They say, Let go and let God. Let go of the excuses and let the God in you do the work that is programmed in your DNA to do. Resisting the process and the attachments that excuses build creates dis-ease and suffering. The more engaged in this process, the better you’ll be at recognizing your own excuses and using them to break through them once and for all. Excuses don’t have to be wasted opportunities – take personal responsibility and use them to accomplish everything you set out to achieve in this lifetime.
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