Have you ever found yourself trekking through life quite nicely, when all of a sudden the bottom falls out? When something so drastically changes, taking you by complete and utter surprise, that you’re blindsided by the reality of your new existence, one that will never, ever, ever be the same?

The company you’re working for goes bankrupt and you’ve suddenly lost all of your money. Your wife announces the paperwork for divorce is already complete on her end; all you have to do is sign. The death of a loved one brings you to your knees.

Any of these events are ones you didn’t ask for, and certainly don’t deserve, but now you’re left to deal with them. They create darkness so thick in your life that sometimes you even wish the light switch would be turned off completely. You become heavy with the torment of depression, anger, and despair so horrendous that you can’t fathom a way out.

We’ve all heard the saying: The only thing you can count on is change. It is true, and yet when you’re in the big middle of the horror, you can’t claw you’re way out. Even if you’re one of those that believe there’s a reason for everything, when something so life changing occurs, it’s hard to see a lesson.

Have you found yourself in the same situation more than once? You find yourself in the same long, droning conversations with your children or your spouse, saying the exact same thing to each other over and over. Or, you are in the same dead-end job that you found yourself in multiple times before. “How did this happen AGAIN?” you ask. Patterns emerge when you aren’t paying attention.

If you find yourself in the same situations over and over again, chances are you are playing a significant role, even it if appears on the outside that something happened TO YOU. It feels sometimes as if the event is THRUST upon you without your wanting it to occur. But if there is a pattern to the same emotional or spiritual distress of the scenarios of your life, only you can break the cycle. Some things ARE your fault, and it might be time to wake up and smell the roses.

The next time you find yourself saying, “It’s not my fault” you may need to instead ask the question, “What did I do to get in this place once again?” This would be the time to figure out what you’ve done to create the situation you’re in. I know for some who read this, it will be a radical shift in reality, and it may even make you angry to hear me say it. However, change occurs when we’re willing to eyeball ourselves in a mirror rather than looking at the world through a magnifying glass. Taking responsibility of your life, and the change you create, means not placing blame on anybody or anything for your life.

In her book, “There’s a Hole In My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery,” Portia Nelson simply yet eloquently explains habit. Here is an excerpt from her “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”:

Chapter 1:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to get out.

Chapter 2:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep home in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it is a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5:
I walk down another street.

The “hole” Portia talks about are our patterns. Be daring enough to take a look at the patterns in your life, and then be even bolder as to ask what you did to create the reoccurrence. Be willing to say, “I take responsibility,” and get out of the hole you’ve gotten yourself into immediately. Then, don’t go near the hole.

Our patterns are our habits – those neural pathways we trust our brains will always create, even when we aren’t aware of it. What we create in our lives, we can also re-create, and this fact alone is so freeing and powerful! Especially the habits we don’t like, but all of them, can be changed for good, when we merely have our eyes wide open, know where we are, take responsibility, and simply do not repeat the pattern.

Author's Bio: 

Following her own 7-step model, Jennifer Ryan went from depressed psychotherapist to a recognized leader in the treatment of depression and anxiety using cognitive-behavioral therapy, life coaching, and the Naked Truth System which she co-developed.

Jennifer is the co-founder of I Choose Change and co-founder of the Naked Truth Change System, a hands-on, content-rich 7-step program for spiritually evolved individuals wanting to heighten their personal awareness or develop professionally.

Jennifer is known for her gentle, empathic demeanor who combines a fresh perspective and no-fluff, innovative strategies, to literally guide her clients into a new realm of thinking and being.

Her energetic spirit and no-holds-barred style leaves individuals excited, motivated, and ready for action. Jennifer's consistent stream of compassion filled with goal-driven action items help take participants to the next level.