Part 12: Contracting Issues and Appropriate Responsibility
Continuing with my journey with Creating Joy, I wish to share with you two objections that arose for me and how I gained the wisdom they had to teach and transformed them into the joyful outcome they each enfolded.
But first, to briefly remind you:
It is my firmest contention that absolutely every pain, discomfort and dis-ease in our lives is brought to us by our own beliefs. If one holds two or more beliefs that are incompatible with each other or if one holds a belief that is limiting to your soul’s growth and progression then this will result in pain. Usually it begins with emotional pain. If you ignore this and do not resolve the problem in your belief system then you begin to see this pain manifesting in relationships. You will have troubled interactions with others around you. If you ignore this then you will begin to have physical pain. Your relationship with your body will deteriorate and the physical pain will actually become a pattern of discomfort. Another word for this is illness. If you resolutely cling to the belief system that is at the heart of the problem you might even find your body dying of it.
What I am saying here is that we transform the painful and troubled issues in our lives by transforming ourselves. As we change our beliefs, so our experiences change.
This means that the dramas and “problems” of our lives are actually nothing more than useful information. They point us directly to something within ourselves that is in need of work.
Our normal response to emotional turmoil, troubled relationships and ill health is to hold on to our beliefs while trying to “fix” the situation outside of ourselves. We work so hard at this but it never actually helps. Every time we manage to fix the problem it crops up again in a different guise in a different place. This is, of course, because the root cause remains firmly in place. We have not changed the foundational belief that is causing the problem to manifest in the first place.
So, for myself, I decided some time ago to Choose Joy. I chose to manifest, discover and create my own bliss. I think it’s a great choice and I want to keep making it. But, you see, holding on to the belief that I can, will and should create joy brings to the surface all kinds of other beliefs that are incompatible with it. I instantly get “blocked” by this intersection of beliefs. I can’t walk both roads. I have to choose one of them. If I want to continue choosing joy then I must find out what that other incompatible belief is so that I can find a way to let go of it. And this is my process of refining my belief system and releasing the beliefs that don’t make me happy.
And this is where I am at right now: releasing the beliefs that don’t make me happy. As I do, I become more and more happy. Doesn’t that seem obvious when I type it out like that?
I promised to relate two recent dramas in which I uncovered beliefs that were incompatible with my new choice and how I overcame them. In today’s blog post I will tell you of the first…
Contracting Issues and Appropriate Responsibility
Every single one of our relationships, be they with friends, family, romantic partners or business associates, is governed by a contract. Most of us are blithely unaware of this because at the level of the incarnating personality we have no memory of the fact that we undertook these soul contracts. So, as the personality, we are usually only aware of the business contracts we have negotiated and signed. But just as you and I have signed employment contracts, rental agreements, credit repayment contracts and similar business agreements we also have soul-level agreements with every other person of any significance in our lives.
Between incarnations there is much work that occurs. Amongst other things you debrief from your last incarnation and then plan your next incarnation. And it is in this planning phase where most contracts are agreed upon. Perhaps you have decided something like “in this next lifetime I am really going to learn to trust myself completely”. Then you will need others to play out dramas with you so that you can see that you trust yourself beyond all else and all others. Some of those dramas might be quite unpleasant to the personality; someone perhaps appearing to be highly trustworthy but then, at the last, misleading you so that you show yourself that you place your trust in yourself rather than them, for example. And while there certainly are many contracts that lead to beautiful and joyful relationships it’s these more challenging contracts that cause us the most difficulty in our lives as humans.
I recently brought one of the more challenging contracts of my life to a close. In the interests of protecting the identity and privacy of the other party I will share only the details pertinent to the learning that I wish to share with you. In essence I found myself in what I thought was a pure business transaction in which I would exchange time and knowledge with this other person. Unfortunately, as I later discovered, this other person held the belief that, in exchange for their technical inputs, I should be taking responsibility for their happiness, their spiritual growth and, believe it or not, most especially their financial well-being too! To make matters much more confusing this “business associate” also believed they should take ownership and control of my work! It took quite some time for me to become aware that these were the beliefs they were holding on to and in that time we had become mired in a truly horribly messy interaction.
And so, in the midst of this truly awful and vexing interaction, I discovered a jewel of great worth. By deeply investigating my own beliefs and comparing them to what was occurring in this painful relationship I had the opportunity to come to great clarity about something that is both true and important:
“I am not responsible for anyone other than myself but I am totally responsible for myself.”
This means that I am not responsible for anyone else’s actions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, choices or words. I am not responsible for who they are and I am not responsible for what they create. I am not even responsible for their thoughts and feelings about me. I am not responsible for their expectations or judgements of me. They, of course, are responsible for all these things. This really means I am not responsible for any part of their side of any contract they have with me because, of course I am responsible for MY side of the contract. And I am 100% completely and totally responsible for my actions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, choices and words. I am responsible for my being and my creations. And only I am responsible for my stuff.
It seems so terribly obvious to say “each is responsible for themselves,” doesn’t it? It seems like something we all understand and know without even thinking about it. So why then do all of us, to one degree or another believe we are responsible for some part of other people’s experiences and creations… and why do we believe that there are others who are responsible for ours?
And we all do!
I challenge you to examine your own life just for just a few moments right now. See if you can’t right away come up with some examples of these inappropriate responsibilities in your life. Here are some points to assist your introspection:
Who are you mad at because they don’t understand you? Remember it’s not their job to understand you, it’s yours!
Who is making you feel sad, angry or frustrated? Remember they are not responsible for your emotions, you are!
How many times have you felt you MUST do something about someone else’s unhappiness? Remember that they are responsible for their emotions, not you! And you are responsible for your actions, not them!
Who is making bad choices that cause you distress? Remember they are responsible for their choices, not you!
What choices are you making (or not making) because of what someone else might think? Remember you are responsible for your choices and they are responsible for their thoughts!
And how many times have your insecurities lead you to looked to others to give you the affirmation that you are “okay”? At root insecurity comes from you not loving yourself unconditionally and YOU are responsible for that! No one else can give it to you!
… I could go on and on. Mostly we have hidden these issues from ourselves but you can do your life a great service by observing where you have sticky issues in your contracts and relationships and then asking yourself where you are either taking responsibility for the other person or expecting them to take responsibility for you. Untangle that little knot and you suddenly find yourself freed from the issue. Try it!
Certainly, I can say that this was one of the most liberating discoveries I have ever made. Discovering this and making my choices in alignment with it was like a “get out of jail free” card from the very vexing interaction I have been sharing with you.
Coming to the clarity that I will not take responsibility for this other being and that I will not permit them to take responsibility for my creations was like bringing a razor blade to an impossible knot. It simply cut us both free. And since then, this awareness has released me from all kinds of other sticky contracting issues that I might have otherwise have become mired in.
So what am I talking about here? I’m not saying we should become IRRESPONSIBLE… not at all. Quite opposite in fact. Through the healing of this belief about responsibility I find myself becoming far more responsible… but appropriately responsible. I now take 100% responsibility for that which is mine. And I release all others to their creations.
Now I am totally and completely responsible for my every thought, word and action. I take utter responsibility for my feelings, moods and emotions. I take full responsibility for all that I am and all that I create. And as liberating as that is… it is just as liberating to completely release all others to take responsibility for themselves.
This also does not mean at all that I now become uncaring! Taking appropriate responsibility does not switch off my empathy for others! What changes is that I no longer feel victimised by others distress. Now, instead of feeling the need to leap in as their rescuer, I can first assess if it is right for me to render assistance – and if it is what the best way for me to assist might be. Now I am able to work to help others without becoming mired in their situation myself. I actually become way more effective at rendering assistance.
If I am responsible for myself then I can choose to assist as a spiritual adult. I take responsibility for the assistance that I offer and for myself in that situation.
I found another unexpectedly wonderful outcome to taking appropriate responsibility. As I spent some time thinking back on my past, I delved into the hurt memories that I still carry of where there were “wronged” relationships between myself and others. Amazingly, by simply sitting in introspection and working with those memories until I could find where it was in each relationship that the other person and I had fallen afoul of taking inappropriate responsibility for each other. Miraculously this was the problem every single time! As I found myself coming to this understanding of where and how we caused each other pain I found those old pains healing and dissolving.
This new belief in appropriate responsibility not only transformed my present circumstances but actually healed my past too!
We create our reality with our beliefs and it is therefore our own conflicting or limiting beliefs that cause us all the pain we experience. And in this blog post I shared with you that until recently I have been carrying a belief that I am, to some extent, responsible for others and they are, to some extent responsible for me. In releasing this belief and framing it correctly in my soul, and then living according to a new belief I have transformed my life. I have released some damaging and sticky relationships and also let go of all kinds of old baggage that I was carrying.
And since then this has gifted me the opportunity to peer even deeper into my own soul… to see a previously hidden layer of belief that was also in need of work. You see this objection actually just masked a deeper one: another limiting belief that was in need of addressing. I’ll tell you about that in the next blog post.
So What about You?
The loving challenge that I’d like to put to you is that you give this some thought and see how “appropriate responsibility” might apply to your life. Try it out. See if this is not the “grease in the machine” that you have been looking for to bring ease and relief to the interactions in your life too!