Accepting Responsibility and Power
Can you believe we are already at the 4th of 8 sessions about how to let go and surrender?
After this, you will be halfway through this series.
If you missed the previous week’s sessions, go back and read those first so you can follow the weeks in order. You can find the first session at bexb.org/letgo
Week 1 was the introduction to how and why to let go and surrender and how these 8 sessions will follow and provide context for the Let Go & Surrender journal.
2 weeks ago I shared some specific ways you can practice surrender.
Last week we talked about letting go in order to have healthy relationships and get comfortable being in discomfort.
Full of Contradictions
This week, let’s talk about accepting responsibility and power.
This one is full of contradictions.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been telling you that we don’t really have control. Today I’m telling you that you can “take back control” from whatever or whoever you have given it to.
We have talked about how letting go and surrendering is accepting reality, now I’m suggesting it can also be about accepting responsibility.
Part of letting go is accepting responsibility instead of blaming.
That last sentence may also seem like a contradiction. Maybe accepting all the responsibility for everything feels like a huge burden instead of a relief.
But, the opposite really is true. When you, personally and intentionally, decide that you will accept responsibility for yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your reactions, you take the power back from whatever you unintentionally gave it to.
If you have ever found yourself blaming others (or blaming circumstances) for how you are thinking and feeling, notice if accepting responsibility instead helps to loosen any tightness or constriction in you.
How would it feel to be open about what is happening in reality instead of being shut down and confined by it?
This is why you are choosing responsibility, not blame.
Imagine someone saying: “When you do that, you make me think XYZ.”
Versus: “when you do that, someone might think XYZ. I choose to think ABC.”
(hopefully the letters aren’t too confusing and you can substitute whatever makes sense in your life)
In the first example, you are blaming what you think on what the person does.
In the second example, you are accepting responsibility for your own thoughts about someone’s behavior. You are taking back control of what you think.
In week 2, one of the practice steps was to say no and yes. Here’s something else you can say no and yes to.
No to blaming others and situations.
Yes to noticing where your responsibility (or power) lies.
Trial and Error
This does take awareness and practice and trial and error. Maybe you think “ok, I’m in! I’ll give it a try!” Then, as you go about your day and your life, you forget and slip into old habits.
At the end of the day, you might realize that you had thoughts like
“I’m mad because this happened.”
“I was hurt when she said that.”
Good news! You can notice and adjust after the fact and still get the benefits!
You can realize: “I thought I was mad because “this happened.” but actually, I was mad because I was thinking it shouldn’t happen (and it did happen).”
You can notice: “I thought I was hurt because she said that thing, but now I see I was hurt because of what I thought when she said that thing. Really, she can say whatever she wants.”
Even noticing (and accepting responsibility instead of blaming) much later gives you back so much power.
Noticing Extension Cords
Let’s talk about a type of power.
Think of the core of your body as your center of strength and power. Now imagine extension cords being plugged in to your core that either give or draw power to or from you at various currents.
Notice who (or what) is giving and draining your power. Who or what is at the other end of those extension cords?
Imaginary Extension Cords
Are you plugged in and attached to someone who draws power from you?
(Contradiction alert! This sounds a little bit like blaming the other person. That is not what I am suggesting here. I am inviting you to notice when you feel a shift in your power or energy because of what you think when you are around that person).
Do you put yourself in situations where the energy is sucked right out of you?
On the other hand, are you expending so much power and energy towards someone or something for no benefit to you?
Unplug the cords that drain your energy and look for ways to plug in to things that give you energy.
I have a personal example to share that illustrates this draining of power.
I’m the type of person who likes to have a plan. I like to know in advance what we’re doing and where we are going.
Because opposites attract, I married someone who is more spontaneous and who likes to go with the flow and see what will happen.
Last year, we took a few trips and I started to notice a pattern while we were on vacation. I would ask “what do you want to do to today?” or “where are we going after this?” and the pattern I noticed was that I always felt completely drained by the answers “Let’s See. We’ll figure it out.”
Because part of having healthy relationships is accepting people as they are and not needing them to change to be more like what we prefer, I did not expect my husband to start making plans and itineraries.
Instead, I noticed when my brain wanted to ask “what’s next? Or what should we do when we’re in this place?” and I declined the suggestion of asking.
It was a little uncomfortable for me – because I really, really wanted to know what we would be doing on our time off together.
But, I reminded myself, I did not like the way I felt when I asked those types of questions or wanted that type of information and did not get it. So I unplugged that extension cord so that it would stop draining my energy.
Happy Ending and Flip Side
There is a happy ending to that story! We ended up having lovely vacations and experiences and got to try new things and see places and talk to people I would have never planned for.
The flip side to this story is that I do get some of my energy from having a plan and knowing what to expect, so I did plan some activities and I had a list of places I wanted to see (if our timing and opportunities worked out). I kept that extension cord plugged in.
I just unplugged the cord that wanted to get that planning and preparation where it wasn’t available.
Did you know you get to decide if you are powerful or powerless?
You may not use this specific, exact language.
You may say I can or I can’t.
Some people might decide completely subliminally, without realizing, that they are powerless most of the time.
Other people may, either intentionally or unintentionally, decide that they are mostly powerful most of the time.
Or, more likely, we think we are powerful in some situations and powerless in others. Isn’t that interesting?
Now that you are hearing this and you realize it, you get to decide.
You can intentionally decide to rely on your own power.
You even have a choice if you want to invoke a “higher power” like a deity or a supernatural entity or the universe.
Or, you can decide that your power is in your own self esteem and self reliance which you strengthen and regulate yourself, internally, regardless of what is happening outside of you.
Verse to Practice Surrender
Here’s this week’s verse to repeat to yourself.
You can modify it to make it your own, or choose something completely different.
Let me remember to be intentional.
I know how to be in this world.
I can make decisions without hesitation because I am self-aware.
Let life flow as it will and let me flow along.
Let me release pressure if it builds. Let me accept what I learn.
Let me surrender.
Chakra and Maslowe’s Hierarchy
If you are tracking along on our journey up Maslowe’s hierarchy and up through the chakras, this week we are still staying in the safety and security level of the pyramid.
But, this week we are looking at the opposite and noticing we do not need to fear or feel powerless in the context of our own safety and security.
This goes right along with focusing on the solar plexus. It is your center of power and will. It is where you know you are an individual, where you know you can take responsibility. You know you are secure in your place in the world.
What old energy drains am I still connected to?
How and what can I unplug from?
How do I know my own beauty, value and worthiness?
Additional Powerful Exercise
Focus your own power on yourself. Your own higher power. Your own inner wisdom.
What can you give yourself credit for?
Make a list of at least 10 things – both big and small.
You can see more of the prompts and the activities to help you accept responsibility and power in Section 4 of the Let Go & Surrender Journal.
New Things I’ve Experienced
Now that we are halfway through this series and (hopefully) now that you have had time to practice and experiment with these concepts, there is another activity to suggest.
Start a list called “New things I’ve tried, learned, experienced and received since starting this journey.”
If you have the journal or study guide, there’s already a page with that title towards the end of the book.
Keeping this running list can help you see your own progress and growth as you learn how to let go and surrender.
I started my own list as I was doing this work 2 years ago.
One of the things I realized was that I could incorporate daily gratitude into my morning journaling practice, before I had just been doing it 1x per month. So, this is something I have been doing for 2 years now. It really helps my mind say yes and receive.
This time around, here’s what I am adding to the list so far: I noticed that I had a perfect day – I actually used the words “settling in” in my journaling one morning. The brainwashing is working!!
I hope it is working for you too!
Let me know how your surrender journey is going by leaving a comment below.
Next Session and More Links
Session 5 is about exploring long held beliefs. Find Long Held Beliefs here: https://bexb.org/longheld/
Do you think differently as an adult than you did as a child?
We probably like to think we do – but what ideas that we came up with in childhood are we still living our life by today? That’s something to check into!
Get the Let Go and Surrender Journal to follow along for these 8 episodes: https://amzn.to/3vM0v5W
See upcoming events: https://bexb.org/letsmeet/
Get a weekly gentle journaling check in – https://bexb.org/weekly/
Join a daily journal prompt FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/journalingfriendship
Shop for irresistible notebooks: https://bexb.org/quickshop
Check out all the other stuff I do: https://bexb.org/links/
Thanks for your good ideas.