Fault vs. Responsibility. Two words that have the same connotation, but can sometimes be at opposite ends of the spectrum. When we’ve been hurt by those we love or even those we don’t know, we often want them to “take responsibility for their actions”, meaning that the pain we are experiencing is their fault and we are laying the responsibility for the repairs squarely on their shoulders. I know that’s a little vague. To help bring this idea into focus, let me tell you how I had to learn that while an injury may be someone else’s fault, repairing what was broken is my responsibility.
In 2012, after a series of devastating events, we moved to a completely different city. We were so excited about this move. To us it meant a fresh start where we could begin to move forward and build a new life.
About six months later the bottom fell out of our safe haven. A group of people in our tight knit community began to spread some pretty ugly rumors about my family and me, especially me. Because we really didn’t know anyone and had no “relational capital”, the rumors swirled out of control. Just as things began to die down, my marriage fell apart. The dissolution of my marriage only served to confirm the old wild accusations.
When my man and I were remarried, we were only able to celebrate that miracle with a handful of people. Our reconciliation stirred up even more nasty rumors. Even now, in many circles of this tight knit community my reputation is still in the trash can. And here is the kicker… only a few people have ever asked me my side of the story. I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t bother me. I can be very tenderhearted and to have people not like me because of speculation has been an extremely difficult road for me. After all, the rumors are not my fault.
Here’s the thing… Pushing past the slander, healing from the hurt it has caused and moving forward is my responsibility. Treating people with kindness, even the ones who are not kind to me, is too. It’s hard to realize that I don’t get to blame another person for my actions. I mean, that’s human nature right? When something bad happens, there must be a bad guy and a good guy. It’s the bad guy’s fault and so it must be the bad guy’s responsibility. Restitution must be paid. It’s the only way to make things right again, right? Well, not really.
You see, if we view life through a lens like that, we are at the mercy of the actions of someone we cannot control. If that’s the case, then we are victims to circumstances and have no say-so in our own lives. We have placed ourselves at the feet of those who hurt us. That, my friend, is a powerless place to be. But if we accept the responsibility for healing as our own, suddenly we’ve taken our power back from the person who hurt us.
I know what I’m saying isn’t easy. I don’t presume to have all of the answers for you. I’m simply presenting this as a way out of the cycle of blame and pain we can sometimes find ourselves in after we are injured by someone else. That cycle holds us back and keeps us from so much. You don’t deserve that . Each and every one of you deserve to be free of anything that keeps you from realizing the beautiful woman that you are. Besides, you are so much more powerful than that cycle. I also understand that taking responsibility for your own healing can feel like “they” are getting away with something. Darlin’ they aren’t. You are cutting the ties that bind you to them and empowering yourself to move forward, wiser and stronger than ever.