When someone else’s words sear your core like poison darts, it’s not your fault. When someone manipulates you like putty, takes advantage of your good nature, it’s also not your fault. But it is your fault if you continue to let these things happen. It is your responsibility, and only yours, to heal the damage inflicted by others, to cut ties with that which no longer serves you.
Perception is our power. It allows us to see ourselves as victims or warriors. It can make our traumas cyclical or choke them out of existence. The choice is always ours.
If someone robs your house, despite your best intentions to keep your doors locked, the robbery is not your fault. The aftermath of that robbery, however, is your responsibility. You must not only look into replacing the items that were taken, but you must alter the way you live in order to minimize the risk of it happening again. You might install security cameras around your house, you might change your locks, you might even briefly consider moving to a safer neighborhood. To do nothing would put you at risk of another burglary, and so it’s your duty to make sure this doesn’t happen.
When people hurt us, it’s the same thing. We might have been careless with those whom we trusted—for whom we left the doors of our hearts unlocked—but that doesn’t mean we should allow ample opportunities for history to repeat itself. We can’t be held accountable for a first offense, but by the third and fourth, we should be. Because we failed to detect the patterns of mistreatment and therefore failed to change our own behavior and trajectory.
Similar to how we can’t rely on others to save us, we must always be the ones to come to our own rescue. We must be the ones to stitch our lives back together, even if we weren’t the ones who shattered them in the first place. Every little girl arrives at this bitter realization eventually when she finally grasps that it’s not her prince who will save her but an older and wiser version of herself.
The family you were born into is not your fault. The people you surround yourself with on a daily basis are. We are only as informed as our inner circle. To reach beyond their opinions, their doctrines, it is our responsibility to cross the threshold from acquainted to unacquainted territory. We must shake hands with those who think differently from us. Whose dogmas differ from the ones that were carved into our skulls since birth. This is no easy task, to blaze a new trail, but the message remains the same, and it is our responsibility to change course nevertheless.
To assume we’re in control of life’s tribulations is an illusion. But to assume we’re not in control of how we allow these tribulations to graze our aura is an even greater illusion. Robberies will always happen, but that doesn’t mean we always need to be victims of them. People will continue to hurt you for what may seem like no reason at all, but you can always pull yourself out of the rubble.
The problem is, we sometimes like to tread in the whitecaps of our own misery. And that’s because of how we’re choosing to perceive our reality. We may tell ourselves stories that sound like, “Everyone is always out to get me,” or “I’m not worthy of love.” These self-told lies are exactly how we keep ourselves stuck in the very cycles we blame others for keeping us in. A word of advice: The morning after you discover your house has been ransacked, do not, all of a sudden, convince yourself you deserved the outcome all along. Doing so could very well attract another break-in.
A thought or an idea can be replaced almost as quickly as it was formed. You can recreate your entire persona and even summon a new tribe. You decide whether or not to accept these very words as truth. You decide when to take action (if at all). Only you, no one else, are responsible for your own destiny.