Near the end of a busy afternoon, a senior caddie at an exclusive golf club is making his appointed rounds—double-checking that everything is in its proper place—when he wanders into the clubhouse locker room.
Much to his shock he sees an obviously completely exhausted man spread-eagle on the floor! A moment later, he recognizes the man as a fairly new member of the club. At first he fears the man may have fallen and hit his head, but after touching him gently, the man leaps to his feet…a terrified look in his eye.
“Are you all right?” asks the caddie. “You gave me a start, finding you lying there like that.”
“Yes…sorry, really…yes…I’m OK,” answers the man.
“Are you sure? You look completely drained. If you don’t mind me asking, how many rounds of golf did you play today?… never saw a man so tired as to pass out on the floor!”
Hesitating a bit, the member replies: “Well, truthfully, I haven’t been out to play yet.”
Squinting his eyes, as if trying to fathom what the man has said, the caddie asks: “I’m not sure I understand, then. You look as if you played seventy-two holes.”
The man’s face turns slightly red, obviously embarrassed over something, and then he answers, barely above a whisper: “I guess I was so worried about making a good impression—what with being new here, and all—that while I was getting dressed to play I had so many fearful swing thoughts I must have worn myself out!”
The caddie just smiles…knowing exactly what the man had just put himself through. He understands, just how easy it is to bury oneself under the weight of false beliefs and the equally false set of responsibilities that come with them.
In this instance, to believe that we’re only as worthwhile as others agree to see us burdens us with feeling that winning the good opinion of others is somehow our responsibility. Such a mistaken mindset leaves us the perennial victim of our relationships, and never the victor in them.
The only way we can be released from any painful sense of false responsibility is to see that it is based in a false belief. To see through the false belief is to be released from the weight of useless false responsibilities.
Study carefully the following list of six false beliefs and the false responsibilities that are never far away from them. Dare to learn everything you can about your own false beliefs and then watch how the weight of false responsibilities falls off of you.
#1: False Belief: Unwanted moments are to be avoided at all costs.
False Responsibility: You feel as if you must remain in control of everyone and everything at all times.
True Responsibility: Welcome everything that happens to you as an opportunity to see through and transcend the unconscious burden of being someone laden with any false beliefs.
#2: False Belief: You are only as valuable, or worthless, as other people agree that you are.
False Responsibility: You’re convinced that you must do whatever it takes to win the approval of everyone you meet.
True Responsibility: Be real…Learn what it means to be in possession of yourself, starting with reclaiming your life.
#3: False Belief: You are responsible for the happiness or unhappiness that others feel.
False Responsibility: You must always compromise yourself to ensure the contentment of everyone else.
True Responsibility: Stay out of the lives of all those who expect you to do for them what they won’t do for themselves.
#4: False Belief: You must learn to “tolerate” friends and family who have agreed to live with and justify negative states.
False Responsibility: You must constantly smooth over rocky situations, ensuring that no one rocks anyone’s boat enough to tip it over.
True Responsibility: See all negative states as the unconscious, dark emotions that they are, and refuse to justify them in yourself, or anyone else.
#5: False Belief: You can change what happened yesterday by revisiting and reliving it today.
False Responsibility: Unless you worry about and suffer over your past, your tomorrows are not going to turn out right.
True Responsibility: You can be a new person right now. Let go of anything that wants to revisit and relive the past.
#6: False Belief: Feeling deeply stressed proves you really care about whatever you’re suffering over.
False Responsibility: It’s up to you to shoulder the weight of those painful thoughts and feelings that want to drag you down.
True Responsibility: See that agreeing to suffer from your own mental and emotional states makes as much sense as blaming the French fry that just burned your mouth.
Let me encourage you to sit down and make your own list of false beliefs, and the legion of false responsibilities that come with them. Remember that your one true responsibility in life—the one action that will always see to your success in life—is to always be as awake and receptive to the present moment as you can be.
If we refuse to see what life is trying to show us about ourselves, then we can’t learn.
@guy_finley (Click to Tweet!)
If we don’t learn the truth of ourselves, then true self-knowledge becomes impossible. Without higher self-knowledge, there is no way to rise above ourselves…to reach that innermost path that alone leads to the fulfillment of our highest possibilities.
The real, unseen cause of our fear is the false belief that life can throw something—anything—at us that’s greater than our ability to change it. But this is simply not true; within each of us lives—no matter what our culture, tradition, or religious background—a fearless immortal Self: a transcendent nature that no more fears unforeseen changes than does the sun shake in the presence of a passing shadow cast by its own light.
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon.