This article is all about personal responsibility. When it comes to living your life in alignment with who you are and what's important to you, it is imperative that you take responsibility for all aspects of your life. Feelings, responses, actions, reactions, choices -- these all fall under your responsibility, whether you like it or not. Until you accept responsibility for these things, your life will continue to feel "out of your control".

I want to begin by giving you an exercise. You can either do the exercise first and then come back and read the rest of this article, or you can keep reading and then do the exercise. Either way will serve you, I promise -- it's just a personal preference thing, I guess. Here's the deal: give yourself a good chunk of time - at least an hour, preferably 2-3, and if you can keep this idea in the back of your brain for even longer than that, even better. For whatever length of time you choose, notice the number of times you speak or think some version of "_______ made me _______". I think you'll be surprised to find phrases of this sort relatively common in everyday conversation. "My child made me so angry". "Those tv commercials make me really sad". "Cartoons make me laugh". In and of themselves these statements (or at least statements like these) seem harmless enough, and indeed may even feel accurate. Notice that I say they FEEL accurate. And the reason I use the word "feel" in this context is because I want to draw the distinction between the feeling of something and the veracity of it. What the heck does that mean? Simply this: just because something feels true, doesn't mean that it absolutely is true. It may be; and it may not. In other words, I want you to give your statements more conscious thought.

As a human being you actually have much more responsibility over what you feel and your corresponding responses than you generally give yourself credit for. While you may be having difficulty believing me, trust me - it's absolutely true. It's one of the reasons two different people can experience the exact same scenario and have different responses. Feelings can certainly seem to come over you in an uncontrollable wave -- I know, I feel them a lot! That being said, you can use the power of your mind to determine if the feeling you're experiencing in any moment is one you want to hold on to, or one you want to let go, and perhaps more importantly, how you're going to express or channel that feeling, what action you're going to take.

Before we go any further let me be clear that I am not in any way disputing the validity of your full range of emotions and reactions. What I'm doing instead is pointing out to you that you have more power over your emotions and "reactions" than you're likely giving yourself credit for. And what's wrong with that? Well, yet again, refusal to recognize your own creative power sets you up to live by default - to be a marble in a supposed pinball game of life rather than a person who can more consciously choose how you respond to whatever stimulus you encounter. So, what is it that I'm inviting you to do? Quite simply - from a vocabulary-tweaking standpoint - ditch the words "make me" from any of the above statements or those like it. Instead, choose vocabulary that is more active in nature. It's about taking ownership and responsibility. For example, "I get angry when my child ignores me" versus "My child makes me angry when she ignores me". The former makes it clear that you are responsible and affords you as a person much more creative power - design influence as it were - over your life than you experience with the latter statement. And that is an important ability if you are in fact going to recreate the story of your life.

Now let's take this a step further, beyond the feeling aspect and into the action componenet. Often-times, we link specific actions to particular feelings and emotions. For example, when you're angry you might yell, or you might cry when you're sad, or you might be silent when you're fearful. Over time, these actions can become patterned -- what you engage in by default -- and statements such as "Carla made me yell", or "whenever I'm with William, he makes me laugh" flow out of you without thought. Here's the deal folks: the people and situations you're referring to aren't making you do a darn thing. You really are choosing them, albeit by habit or default. In an effort to change your story, then, it behooves you to become more aware of the patterns you've set up and be more deliberate. Feeling angry? Great! How might you express it without yelling? Going to spend time with the in-laws? Awesome -- how can you consciously choose the way in which you be with them, and have a different interaction? I guess the best way to make my point is to say this: just because something's always been a certain way, doesn't mean that there isn't another way for it to be. The question becomes, how willing are you to find another way? And how willing are you to reclaim your creative ability and consciously choose your emotions and corresponding responses, regardless of the circumstances? How willing are you to take responsibility for all aspects of your life, including feelings and corresponding actions?

Bottom-line: nobody, no thing, no situation can "make you" feel, do or experience anything. Your reaction to something is always YOUR REACTION -- and it's about you, its not about the circumstance. Get your head around this, reclaim your own ability to live life consciously and the story of your life will in fact be written by you, and not by those around you. It's time for you to be responsible for your life, in every way, shape and form.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Barker is a professional life coach, motivational speaker and co-author of The Control Freak's Guide to Living Lightly: Manifesting a Life of Total Trust. Her company,Stellar Coaching & Consulting was founded in 2003, and is committed to supporting individuals in finding their way to living life on their terms.