At one point we were talking about the things I write about. About how I take what I have gone through in life and use my experiences to fuel my words. When she asked about my feelings on all that I had gone through and all that I had to face during the course of my life so far, my response to her was simple - it is what it is.
It is what it is.
Not in politics, not at work and most importantly, not in our own lives.
It is within our own lives that taking personal responsibility is so important. Yet, it is one of the last things a lot of us ever do. Whether it is dealing with your past, facing addictions, leaving a loveless marriage, facing circumstances that were out of your control, or where a bad decision or a slew of bad decisions that landed you in a place you never saw coming. Never once imagining your life could end up where it has - and instead of examining all it took to get you there, you fault everyone else, throw your hands up and say, "Not my fault."
It is what it is.
There are so many things that happen in life that we simply just cannot control. Growing up for me was a series of events that I had zero to do with. But yet it affected every facet of my life whether I wanted it to or not. I could come up with a very solid litany of reasons why I couldn't possibly be happy, couldn't possibly go on, couldn't possibly be a well adjusted adult, and most of them would be valid reasons. But I won't. It is what it is and there is not a damn thing I can do to go back and change any of it - but I can take responsibility for my now, I can say, "Yes a lot of bad happened. Yes it helped make me who I am today. Yes it hurt and sometimes the ghosts of those memories haunt me, but I will not let them control my emotions, my life or my future." While I may not be able to take responsibility for what transpired, I damn well can take responsibility for the effects it has on my life today. Do I want to be a shrunken shell of a human? Do I want to be afraid of taking chances? Do I want to be sad and miserable and hate the world?
Ummm, no. Make that a Hell No!
I want to own my life. This means taking responsibility for it.... All of it.
Death. Divorce. Job Loss. Abuse. All are tragic events that can happen, sometimes without warning. All elicit some serious emotional and physical trauma in life. Losing a loved one can be like losing a part of your soul, the breaking up of a family can be devastating, losing your financial means is scary and recovering from any type of abuse can be earth shattering. You had no control over what happened, and it is most definitely not your fault - it is what it is. It happened. It was one of the bleakest and darkest moments of your life. And though you had no control over what happened and though it is not your fault and you never asked for it to occur - it is your responsibility to put the pieces back together and make yourself whole once more.
Is it fair, no. Is it necessary, yes. It can also be extremely empowering when you suddenly realize that you do have control, especially after feeling like you have lost all of it. Because, you do have control. You have control to pull yourself up. To face what has happened and to make peace with yourself. Sure, you may stumble and fall a few times, but don't look around for excuses. Instead pick yourself up and vow to begin anew. As many times as it takes until you get to where you want to be.
So what if you make a mistake? You are human. So what if you don't get it right the first time? You are healing. So what if you are alone and scared? You will begin to discover that you are your own best motivator when the end result is a happy and content life. You owe it to yourself to take full responsibility in getting there. No one else has that power, except for you. Harness it and do what needs doing. Stop finding excuses for all the reasons why you can't and start finding all the reasons you can. Embrace your responsibility to yourself. Own your life and all of your experiences. Dig deep; face your fears and your sadness.
If you do all of this. If you take personal responsibility for your life, I promise you, that one day your answer to a question about all you have faced in your life will be –
"It is what it is - and it did not break me."