Beliefnet
Serenity in an Age of Anxiety

 

Courtesy of StockSnap       “I have always had a special bond with Shobani,” Roger said, offhandedly to his sister, Darby.  When Roger reminded Darby that their younger sister, Shobani was his favorite, her self-esteem plummeted.  She wondered if she would always be the third wheel.

 

“I don’t need your help,” Jack snapped at his mother.  “If I want your opinion, I will ask but otherwise, stay out of my life.” His mother deflated and wondered where she had failed.

 

“It looks like you have put on some weight,” Alice said to Amy with concern.  “I thought you were on a diet.”  ‘Yes, thank you for noticing, you sanctimonious witch,’ Amy thought bitterly.  Why aren’t people nicer?

 

Every time someone opens their mouth, there is a chance they will say something unsettling.  Hurtful comments, criticism and accusations are a part of everyday interactions.  You could also be the next person fired, cheated on or mugged. Positive thoughts, a vegetable- rich diet and kind actions will increase your happiness, but will not prevent a piano from falling on your head or your mother from dying of cancer. Nobody is immune to life.

 

Yet somehow we think we are in control and events in our lives say something about our worth.  Watch your thoughts and see how they attempt to manage distress. If I or he or they had only….(fill in the blank) then (fill in consequence).

 

If Dean wasn’t so cold, Lisa wouldn’t have left him.

The country is in terrible shape because people are so self-absorbed.

I must have done something wrong to be this sick.

 

The mind searches endlessly for explanations and culprits because understanding creates the illusion of providence. ‘I am in control because I understand what happened’ is a trap. If there is always someone to blame when something unpleasant happens to you, it is personal. After all, you were there. You must have done something.  Your problems reflect you and are the consequence of the many ways you fall short or deserve punishment.  Quick, find someone else to blame.

 

The truth is nothing that happens to you is personal and you are 100% responsible for your own life.  Holding these seemingly contradictory ideas together is the key to reducing anxiety.  Can you claim complete responsibility for your life and not blame anyone including yourself, for anything that happens to you? Responsibility without blame is true providence over life. What to take personally?  Nothing.

Post #31

Next time: Part 2- Responsibility Without Blame

 

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