They are the nectar of sweetness. Aromatic, inviting, and tempting. Sometimes, they are purchased from an impulsive craving. Those who love cinnamon rolls crave Cinnabons. What does a Cinnabon have to do with responsibility? Simple answer: Everything! It is the craving for the sinfully delectable treat. Somehow, it soothes us with it’s sweetness. One derives some comfort in the way it melts on the palate of our taste buds. Invigorating.
The fourth premise of conscious and authentic living
We have come to understand how authenticity is essential to our human experience. We also discover the relationship between the higher priority of gaining a sense of happiness and peace in our lives. And, finally, we may have come to realize the nature and powerful motivation vision and purpose has in moving toward living a conscious life with meaning and purpose. The next premise to an authentic and conscious life is the reality of taking responsibility.
How is accountability more tempting than a Cinnabon? Taking accountability for our own life means we accept full responsibility for the way we think, how we feel, and the behavior. It also means we take full responsibility for our need of forgiveness toward self and others. We are the sole proprietors of our own sense of well-being and happiness. No one else.
This is your life
During 1952-61, Dick Clark hosted a game show called This is your life. The point of this show is to bring, on stage, a celebrity:
Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. The celebrity would then be surprised with the news that they are to be the featured guest. Next, the celebrity was escorted into the studio, and one by one, people who were significant in the guest’s life would be brought out to offer anecdotes. At the end of the show, family members and friends would surround the guest, who would then be presented with gifts. These usually included jewelry, a scrapbook of memories, a home 16 mm projector and a camera.
The concept for this show came when Ralph Edwards had worked with paraplegic soldiers (at the bequest of the U.S. Army). He ended up working with a young man that appeared to be quite despondent. Edwards conceived the idea of presenting his life on the air. The objective was to integrate his happier past and provide a means to develop a hopeful future. This had started as a radio show, and then morphed into a successful television broadcast.
Responsibility means acceptance
It does not merely mean we take responsibility for our own welfare and well-being. A journey to cultivate a conscious and meaningful life means we come to a place of acceptance of who we are and our purpose concerning our own human existence. We come to accept the past (for all the good and bad that has occurred), and the decisions we have made (good or bad). It leads us to a place of Radical Acceptance.
We have a natural tendency to accept life when things are going good. Life is going according to plan. We experience bliss. However, when things end up derailed, plans crumbled, we experience disappointment, tragedy, or any pain and adversity; we are quick to point blame toward people, places, things, and/or events. Instead, when we are experiencing pain, we come to a place of accepting what is happening.
Accepting reality is difficult when life is painful. No one wants to experience pain, disappointment, sadness or loss. But those experiences are a part of life. When you attempt to avoid or resist those emotions, you add suffering to your pain. You may build the emotion bigger with your thoughts or create more misery by attempting to avoid the painful emotions. You can stop suffering by practicing acceptance.
Dr. Hall continues:
Life is full of experiences that you enjoy and others that you dislike. When you push away or attempt to avoid feelings of sadness and pain, you also diminish your ability to feel joy. Avoidance of emotions often leads to depression and anxiety. Avoidance can also lead to destructive behaviors such as gambling, drinking too much, overspending, eating too little or too much, and overworking. These behaviors may help avoid pain in the short run but they only make the situation worse in the long run.
Acceptance means you can turn your resistant, ruminating thoughts into accepting thoughts like, “I’m in this situation. I don’t approve of it. I don’t think it’s OK, but it is what it is and I can’t change that it happened.”
Once we come to a complete and total acceptance of life we are empowered to find strength and value. This is how we take responsibility for our own lives: We accept that there is going to be disappointments. We accept that things will not always work out as we have planned. We accept that we exist in a volatile world. We have the choice to either blame others for our own failings and perceived oppression (real or imagined); or, we come to a place and accept the reality of life and take responsibility for how we are going to respond in light of our own suffering.
Taking responsibility means we develop authentic hope
In his book, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible self, Dr. Alex Lickerman, M.D. comments: “An undefeated mind isn’t one that never feels discouraged or despairing; it’s one that continues on in spite of it. (p. 31).” Dr. Lickerman continues:
Defeat comes not from failing, but from giving up. An undefeated mind doesn’t fill itself with false hope, but with hopes to find real solutions, even solutions it may not want or like. An undefeated mind is itself what grants us access to the creativity, strength, and courage necessary to find those real solutions, viewing obstacles not as distractions or detours off the main path of our lives but as the very means by which we can capture the lives we want.
The authentic hope we desire is to experience happiness and peace in this life. The problem (as evidenced by recent events) is that there are many who perceive that external factors are the means to achieve happiness and peace. Through the art of taking responsibility for our own lives means we are empowered to make calculating decisions to move us through those times we experience adversity.
From a Christian worldview, there is a powerful passage that expresses how authentic hope inspires and transforms our lives. In Romans 5:3-5, the Apostle Paul writes:
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Our authentic hope, through our act of taking responsibility for our lives, produces endurance. This helps us develop character. And, through our character development, we produce more hope. This is not something we become ashamed of, we become proud of.
Taking responsibility of our disappointments, fears, and limitations do not bring us to a place of disappointment, it brings us to a place of awareness and encouragement. We become empowered to move through our own suffering.
Taking responsibility begins to be as tempting as a Cinnabon
Once we taste the act of responsibility in our lives, we find it to be quite sweet, inviting, and awakens us to a new sense of being. We begin to develop a craving for more responsibility in our lives. We begin to work and maintain – cultivating our lives through any season. In fact, one may say that as we take responsibility over our own lives, we recognize the seasons and changes associated with those seasons (See, Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, ESV)
Let us draw our attention to the teaching of Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (as cited above). While the first eight verses reflect the seasons of our human existence, in this present life, what appears to be insightful is this:
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
God’s gift to humanity is the ability to find joy through our own ability to take responsibility for what has been entrusted to us. We are to take pleasure in our hard-work. Through responsibility and accountability, we sow and harvest gifts that surpass anything anyone is able to give to us without working. It develops a genuine and humbling pride within our soul. It provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
The more we toil to produce greater and greater harvests in our lives, the more tempting it is to experience and taste happiness and peace of mind. All because we made a conscious decision to take full responsibility for our own life and our own journey.
Taking responsibility means we breath life and meaning into our existence
Without responsibility for understanding who we are. Without discovering our resilience through enduring hardship and suffering. Without authentic hope, we come to experience a sense of death. We are perishing, experiencing anguish and misery, and become impoverish. On the contrary, we we take full responsibility of our lives, we break ourselves free from the strongholds of inadequacy, poverty, decay, and anguish. We become empowered to move out of our false sense of self and work toward a healthier and more authentic sense of identity. We literally breath into our lives meaning and purpose.
This comes at a cost. We have to wrestle and put to death our old perceptions, ideologies, expectations, and false hopes. We battle against our tendency to avoid responsibility in our lives. This includes our tendency to deny the right to suffer. Yes, instead of resisting suffering, we embrace our suffering and take full responsibility for it.
Where does this leave us?
It leaves us right were we may want to be. Asking ourselves an honest question as to whether or not we have taken full responsibility for our own lives. For those who are Christians and LDS-Christians, it means we are to come to a place to take full responsibility for our new life in Jesus Christ. For those who do not share in the Christian worldview – it means to take responsibility for your own life without any expectations from others.
As we begin to make the steps toward acceptance and responsibility, we begin to taste the sweet savory hope. We begin to produce an inviting aromatic for others to come in and partake of an authentic life that has meaning and purpose. By us taking responsibility for our life, we crave more authenticity, more meaning, and more purpose. This is how responsibility is more tempting than a Cinnabon.
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