Throughout these past months you’ve looked at many different things. You’ve learned that out of your rules and messages given to you as a child came from your beliefs > thoughts > feelings > choices > decisions > behaviour. Each of those is a chain resulting accumulatively in your life experience.
In all these areas, you have been told that as a child you were not responsible for the beginning of these and for knowing that they were:
irrational and damaging beliefs > illogical and self-defeating thoughts > painful and intolerable feelings > few and restricted choices > poor and unsafe decisions > victimized and antisocial behaviour > limited and unsatisfying life experience.
You were also told that as an adult you are responsible for how you continue to live and that you have the right to change all these to:
rational and healing beliefs > logical and self-enhancing thoughts > helpful and manageable feelings > many and varied choices > wise and safe decisions > assertive and sociable behaviour > full and satisfying life experience.
In this blog, we will go through the Life Experience Chain and look at what your rights and responsibilities are for each of these areas. But first, let’s look at the meaning of “right” and “responsibility”.
Right: something to which one has a just claim, the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled
Responsibility: able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations.
You might have grown up with a different belief about these. Perhaps rights in your home only belonged to certain people and seemed like a special advantage or favour, not subject to the usual rules, thus appearing unfair and uneven. Responsibility might have been portrayed as a burden or something that resulted in blame and punishment. Reads through the definitions again and write them out in your own words.
There needs to be a balance between rights and responsibilities. Someone having all rights and no responsibilities is unbalanced. This is when things would seem unfair and uneven. Likewise, if someone has all responsibilities and no rights, this too is unbalanced and would also seem to be unfair and uneven.
Let’s see what happens when there are all rights but no responsibilities (all take; no give): there is the idea of being advantaged, spoiled, no commitment or anchor, isolated, no friends, no sense of community, and leads to feelings of sadness, anger, fear.
Now let’s see what happens when there are all responsibilities but no rights (all give; no take):
overburdened, no fun, no enjoyment, no friends, isolated, no friends, no sense of community, leads to feelings of sadness, anger, fear.
What is needed is a balance between rights and responsibilities. Let’s have a look at that balance in the Life experience Chain. Read through each one. Notice that there are rights and responsibilities for each one.
Rules and Messages
Rights: to be looked after as a child; to be nurtured and kept safe.
Responsibilities: to look after yourself as an adult; to nurture and keep yourself safe.
Rights: to believe that you are worthwhile; to believe that changes are possible.
Responsibilities: to be aware of what keeps you stuck; to move from pain to power.
Rights: to have your thoughts and to express them; to be listened to and taken seriously; to say “I don’t know.”
Responsibilities: to control the chatterbox in your head; to not blame yourself; to tell others what you think without making them guess.
Rights: to have your feelings; to express your feelings.
Responsibilities: to use your feelings to identify what is happening; to not blame others “you make me ….”
Rights: to say “no” without feeling guilty; to ask for information (even from professionals)
Responsibilities: to figure out what you want in life; to not just accept whatever comes your way, then gripe; to stop waiting for … the perfect job, mate, friends, etc
Rights: to set your own priorities; to make your own mistakes; to ask for what you want.
Responsibilities: to choose the path that contributes to your growth and makes you feel at peace with yourself; to learn to be comfortable with your decisions.
Rights: to be treated with respect; to live not as a victim; to enjoy yourself.
Responsibilities: to be aware of where and when you are not taking responsibility, to treat others with respect; to take the necessary risks to allow yourself to live fully.
LIVING FOR THE FUTURE
- Remember to journal ~ this will help you to connect trigger > thought > feeling > behaviour.
- Start replacing those old childhood negative messages and beliefs. Replace them with positive ones. Write them out, say them to yourself, keep them posted someplace where you can see them.
- Remember you were not responsible for the things that happened in your childhood. Work with a counsellor to help heal those memories. Make a decision to accept responsibility for your life as an adult.
- Identify your triggers especially the powerful ones. Look at ways you can avoid them or at least reduce their impact. Stop the chain reaction at the thinking
- Start identifying your feelings. Use feelings to help identify your needs and connect the THOUGHT >FEELING chain.
- Self-abuse (whether physical or emotional/mental) is always a choice; it is not uncontrollable. When you want to self-abuse:
- 1) think “STOP”
- 2) reconstruct EVENT > TRIGGER > THOUGHT(S) > FEELING.
- 3) look at alternatives.
- Keep in mind you want to change. Begin to build payoffs every time you use one of the new links in the life experience chain.
- Practice assertive techniques and non-victim behaviours.
- Start looking after yourself.
Here Are Some Further Thoughts
Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.
Memories can haunt but not harm.
It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can exercise your right to change.
Instead of saying “I can’t” say “I haven’t yet”
Power is a state of the mind.
Thanks giving brings thanks living.
What is your response-ability today?
Don’t let someone else decide how you should think, feel, act.
Losers say it might be impossible but it’s too difficult. Winners say it might be difficult but it’s always possible.
As a child, you were not responsible for knowing life could be any different. You do have a choice as an adult about what kind of life you continue to have. You have the right to change it to a full and satisfying life that validates and empowers you.
Choose today to start making changes in your life. Change will occur as you continue to:
- Recognize all the things that have gone into making your life experience limited and unsatisfying.
- Replace them with all the new things that you have learned to make your life full and satisfying.
- Start practising these changes now and every day.
limited, unsatisfying full, satisfying
self-defeating, antisocial assertive, social
poor, unsafe wise, safe
few, limited many, varied
painful, intolerable helpful, manageable
illogical, self-defeating logical, self-enhancing
irrational, damaging rational, healing
RULES AND MESSAGES
unhealthy, dishonouring healthy, trustworthy
given to me as a CHILD created by me as an ADULT
This concludes the blogging on The Life Experience Chain. I hope that you have followed the blog for each chain and made changes in your life along the way. If you are a new reader, the Life Experience Chain commenced November 2016 and each month looked at an element in that chain.
Next month Custom Counselling will begin a new topic. I hope you will continue to follow!
Judith S. Carscadden