Personal Responsibility

Aug 22, 2017 | SEL

Personal Responsibility

By Scarlett Lewis

Does anyone ever really swoop in and solve our problems? Even in the long-term? Perhaps parents do, or at least try, when we’re children. But in reality, issues that we face in our personal lives, as well as those in our society, require us to take personal responsibility to solve them. We do this when we stop blaming others and become the change we want to experience.

Take the issues of bullying, suicide and substance abuse. Overall statistics show these issues are worsening despite our best efforts. Bullying has increased 21% since we started tracking it in 2003. We have more suicides than murders in the US, and drugs killed a record number of individuals last year, more than cars and guns.

A director in the FBI spoke recently at a school counseling conference I attended. He said the drug problem is escalating so quickly that they have changed their strategy and are reaching out to the community for help. That is why he was there. He was promoting free screenings of a documentary called “Chasing the Dragon” about the life of a drug addict. After scaring us with dismal statistics and advising us that the issue would get worse before it gets better, his counterpart made a brilliant statement that stunned me,

“The opposite of addiction is connection….and connection is love.”

Could it be that a lack of love is at the root of our issues, even addiction, and that teaching individuals how to choose love is the solution?

Ira Isreal, an LA based therapist, talks about a time during his Phd class when his professor asked them to think about a problem they were currently experiencing. Then he told them to write down all the thoughts and feelings they had about that issue. Next, he asked them to circle all of the thoughts and feelings that were associated with a solution. Ira said you could have heard a pin drop as all pencils were left poised in the air. Not one of the items on their lists related to problem solving. That is because that is not how the majority of us think.

Research shows that between 70 and 90% of our thoughts are angry, non-productive and don’t serve us. The majority of our thoughts are repetitive, the same ones we had yesterday, a week ago, up to 5 years prior. When we understand that each of have between 60-80,000 thoughts that go through our heads on a daily basis, each one impacting us on a cellular level, physically, mentally and emotionally, we realize the importance of being mindful of what we choose to think!

The issues we face are not political or legislative. They are issues of the heart. And this is great news because it means that each and every one of us holds the key to creating a safer, more peaceful and loving world. You can’t change someone else, but you can become part of the solution by actively choosing love and courageously practicing gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action. This creates a ripple effect and scientific tells us our thoughts, that create our feelings, that affect our actions can impact up to 3,000 people! In a world that seems out of our control at times, this is an empowering idea that produces positive change.

Choose Love. It’s a simple idea but it’s not easy. It takes daily effort and commitment. WE can do this together. WE can be part of the solution. We can choose love.