With millions of people out of work, billions under lock down, thousands dead, and countless at the risk of dying, the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve at a rapid pace. And yet, in the midst of the most challenging global crisis of our life-time, political leaders across the globe are actively working to shift our attention to one question: Who can be blamed for what is happening?
Looking for a target to blame during difficult times is… well… easy to do but so not sexy.
Forget about how most world leaders minimized the crisis and wasted precious time fighting the infection. Ignore the initial lack of tests and ventilators or the widespread fear caused by their actions, or better yet, inactions. Let’s just point the finger and pretend that blaming someone for the pandemic will help us overcome it.
But to be honest here, our world leaders are not alone in failing to take responsibility. Whether we are talking about the way we care for our planet (or even our neighborhood), raise our children, use our finances, or treat our own bodies, most of us miss out on the opportunity to be fully responsible to make this one life as magnificent as it can be. All because we insist on seeing responsibility as a heavy burden, rather than recognizing it as the key to our freedom.
Responsibility is the ability to take full ownership of your life experience and understand that there is no one that can stop you from taking actions and making choices that align with your authentic truth—no one other than yourself, of course. It may look like a burden, but in fact it’s a privilege and a gift.
That’s why I am determined to rebrand responsibility, to give it a fresh, dare I say sexy, new look. Sexy? you say. Really? Yes, sexy. Being responsible is the most attractive quality you can find in a human. Don’t believe me?
Think about some of your favorite female characters. I’ll share mine: Wonder Woman, Olivia Pope, Ashley Graham, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Detective Benson, Beyonce… I could go on. The point is, whether fictional characters or real women, not only are these women talented and beautiful, they also share a fierce sense of responsibility for the space they occupy. Beyonce entertains. Michelle inspires. Ashley spreads fierce confidence. Benson fights for justice. Olivia runs the Oval Office. JLo redefines what a woman can look like and accomplish in her fifties. These are the kind of women who own each step, each word, and each move completely, which is an act of taking full responsibility for who they are and how they want to show up in their lives.
Now I need you to know that you, yes you, the woman reading this article, have that same power to make choices and take ownership of your existence. You can choose to continue investing your time, your energy, and your mental space into feeling upset, angry, and frustrated by how other people’s behaviors are impacting your life. You can keep blaming someone or something else for the stress and the shortcomings that got you to where you are today. Or you can choose to reclaim responsibility for yourself and take charge of what your life experience gets to be from this moment on.
Take these four action steps to discover your own fierce sense of responsibility and get your sexy back:
- Shine light on it: Acknowledge the areas of your life where you feel powerless. You might be unhappy in your current relationship, or frustrated for not having one. Or you might hate your job, but believe it’s too late for you to pursue your dream career. This first step encourages you to become a gentle observer of your life so that you can name where you feel stuck or stagnant.
- Look deeper: Identify the old stories, judgments, and limiting beliefs from the past that are interfering with your present circumstances. Who is to blame for where you are now? Maybe one of your parents was particularly critical of you, or a teacher or coworker said something so painful it has affected your inner confidence. Whatever it is, however hard it is to face, do your best to observe your inner dialogue with as little judgment as possible.
- See clearly: That was then, not now. It’s essential to identify and honor our wounds, but it’s equally important to separate what happened in the past from the present moment. To do that, you need to start with separating yourself from the past experience (what happened or what someone said) so that you can stop identifying with it. A simple exercise is to say: “That was then, not now.” Some of the issues you may be dealing with today may have started in the past, but the responsibility to heal yourself now is entirely yours.
- Choose again: When you are stuck in a situation that makes you unhappy and feel like pointing your finger to blame someone for what is wrong in your life, you have an opportunity to choose again. To let go of your attachment to what someone did or said to you in the past and focus on what you can do right now to change your reality. The goal here is to ask yourself “what can I do now that would make me feel even a little but better?”. Maybe you cannot get the new job at this second, but you can reach out to a friend and set up an appointment to help you rewrite your resume. Or maybe you can just take ten slow breaths to ground in your body and restore your sense of safety rather than keep scrolling through your social media. All you need to choose again is your willingness to take one small step in the right direction after the other. Before you know it, you’ll turn around and be amazed by how far you have come. And in that moment, you’ll know, without a doubt, that you are the one responsible for your success.
Whether you are the president of your country, a police officer, a school teacher, a performer, or a parent, you will underestimate certain situations and overreact to others, you will be prepared for some challenges and unprepared for many more, and you will make mistakes. And when you face the consequences of your actions (or inactions), you will always have a choice.
You can choose to hide and pass the blame to someone else, which I think you now agree, will not qualify you as a very attractive character let alone a happy one. Or you can be brave enough to be vulnerable, admit to your mistakes so that you can actually learn from them, understanding that mistakes are not the end of line, but the beginning of your growth.
Now, that right there, is sexy as hell.
Rakel Chafir is a body confidence expert and success coach who teaches women how to heal their relationship with their body so they can reach their full potential in life.
Image courtesy of Ava Sol.