I was watching one of my favourite movies of 2011 last weekend, Bridesmaids. I love the character of Megan, the sister of the groom. At one stage in the movie, the heroine (Annie) is having a hard time. Everything has gone wrong, she’s lost her home, her job, her business, her best friend. Living with her “alcoholic” (I would of been one dear if I ever had a drink) mother, things couldn’t get much worse. So what does she do? She takes to the sofa, eats bad food and worse movies. Just like the rest of us! Until Megan calls around one day. Megan isn’t your usual friend. She’s a bit nutty but that’s what makes what she says so powerful. While Annie is wallowing in her misery, Megan reminds her that yes she is her own problem, but that she’s also her solution! I thought it was so simple and not that it was anything that I hadn’t heard before but it was just delivered in a different way.
When we take responsibility (and that doesn’t mean taking blame) for our lives, especially the parts that aren’t working for us, then we’re automatically in a place where we can take ownership and do something about it.
For example, I know a woman, lets call her Mary. She was very unhappy at work. She felt she had no friends and she suspected that no one really liked her so she kept mostly to herself. This led to feelings of isolation which spilled over into her personal life. Her relationship broke up and she spent more and more time at home on her own. Life was not what she wanted. It was everyone elses fault, her co-workers, her ex boyfriend, the government, ie. anyone but her. She was stuck in victim mode or “poor me” Now it’s not that she didn’t have some vaild reasons to complain, but this was a waste of time and energy as it wasn’t getting her anywhere.
We talked about her taking responsibility, she wasn’t really open to it as it felt that she was then saying that it was all her fault. Which it wasn’t and this isn’t what responsibility is. Responsibility is saying “ok so X happened. It’s come into my life for a reason, I can either learn from it and move on or I can feel very very sorry for myself for ages.” It was her choice, which did she want? Victim or action? Once she got this and accepted it then her perspective automatically changed.
She moved into “I’m the solution” that megan talked about. Ok, so where she was at now wasn’t what she wanted – what did she want? “OOhhhhh I don’t know, all I know is what I don’t want!” hmmm, thats probably why she was getting more of what she was focusing on. I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want to be single – in order for the brain to translate a negative it has to first see it and then dismiss it. (*try it yourself – try to imagine not eating a banana. What did you do? Did you see the banana?!) So she was getting a picture of herself every day as single, alone and isolated.
By focusing on what you do want, it opens up a world of possibilities. Mary realised that she wanted to try something new, wanted to make friends and wanted to take up a new hobby. She became her biggest solution. That was 2 years ago and Mary is still living by that principle, very happily I might ad.
What do you want? Is there an area of your life that isn’t quite working for you? If so, is it time to take responsibility and do something about it? These can be challenging questions but the answers might just lead to change your life for the better.