Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Real power in responsibility

It seems to me that as a people we are no longer able to take responsibility for our own actions. If we are heavy then it must be the fault of fast food chains. If we are poor than it is a result of the government. If we have any kind of "issue" then it must be because of our parents.

How sad.

There is real power in taking responsibility upon ourselves. Now, don't get me wrong, in some cases it is true that others can cause our misery, but if we are truly honest with ourselves we would realize that we are extremely quick to place blame somewhere other than ourselves when sometimes it isn't really fair.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Solomon over at Nourishing the Soul wrote about the idea of making parents instrumental in the healing of eating disorders. Read this article, it's amazing.

Dr. Solomon points out that having parents help in healing is radical because "our society has readily adopted the notion that parents are the root of all of our problems and thus cannot be the source of our solutions." 

I think it is sad. During the Holidays magazines are riddled with articles about how to "survive your family" over the Holiday. There are so many movies on this theme as well. Really? Are the people that gave us birth, raised us, and loved us unconditionally even when we were teenagers really that bad? I would argue that with rare exception our parents have only ever wanted the best for us. They want us to be happy, successful, and healthy.

In the world of eating disorders new research is showing that parents largest contribution to the development with one is actually genetic. Which is something that frankly can't be helped.

Here's the thing folks, parents aren't perfect. But neither are you. And you won't be a perfect parent either. I certainly hope my own son is not as quick to blame his parents for any problems he encounters as many of the people I know. I know I'll never be a perfect mother, I know that I'll make plenty of mistakes, but I also know that no one could ever love my son the way I do. No one wants the best for him more than I do.

And I know the same is true of my parents for me and my siblings. My problems in life are not the fault of my parents, though they (like me) are not perfect.

In my own life I have tried hard to realize that perhaps no one is to blame. Maybe things are just how they are. Maybe my genetic makeup is such that I had low self-esteem growing up. I know it is certainly my own fault that I gained weight after the birth of my son. You should have seen the way I was eating. Blaming others, especially my parents, does nothing to help the situation. It keeps me from moving on and addressing the problem. And it could drive a wedge between me and those I blame. No, if we desire change and acceptance we need to stop placing blame and simply move on.

It can be scary to not place blame. It makes us vulnerable and at fault. But our vulnerability is also where we can learn to get to know ourselves better. Stop blaming and allow those who truly know and love you to be there for you. Because there is real power in taking responsibility upon ourselves.