Why getting hot-collared is up to us

I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face. My vision is clouded by the lump in my throat which tries to escape through my tear glands. Attempting to regain my composure just makes things worse. I fumble helplessly for words. Why me? Why is it always me?!

The scenario above happens frequently, to some extent. I’m the victim of some unfortunate event. Although often it’s not so extreme as the case above, things like really stupid drivers, misinformed gossipers, and unintentional comments from people in my world can drive me straight to the watering trough of self-pity. It’s there that I guzzle my sorrows away with a really sad look on my face.

The problem with that watering hole is that it’s like me drinking Root Beer: My thirst for it can’t be quenched, but after one 12 once can, I implode (I have a bit of a weak stomach for my favorite pop which also makes me sad). Downing an entire cooler of self-pity sure feels good on the lips, but it does nothing to move me forward.

Here’s the crazy part..

If you re-read the hot-collar scenario above, you’ll notice that you have no idea what just happened. You don’t know if I just got rear-ended, got lied to, or whip-cream pied in the face. You only know my reaction. If I change the reaction to a response, the entire story changes:

Boy, that person sure doesn’t know where I draw the line. I sure feel like I’m being stepped on, and I’m going to do what I can to fix it. If they can’t see and respect my worldview, I’ll have to leave them be.

I know, it’s easier to type it out than it is to practice. But I want you to notice that nothing about the circumstance changed. It was only the story I told myself that changed. And that internal narrative is ours to shape however we wish, whenever we wish.

It’s easier to be a victim because we don’t have to own our reactions. But it’s far more worthwhile to be the person who is willing to take the responsibility for their station in life.

If you don’t ask yourself any other questions today, my hope is that you’ll ask yourself this one:

Are you hanging on to a victim mentality, or are you proactively seeking responsibility in order change your life for the better?

Did you like this article on responsibility? You might enjoy this story about me getting reprimanded on the job and my reaction! 


2 thoughts on “Why getting hot-collared is up to us

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