Friday, December 16, 2011

Accept Accountability? I don't want to!

My girlfriend Lezhai posted a link to a blog on my FB page for me called "30 things to stop doing to yourself".  I thought it was a good read so I browsed the site and found several other good thought provoking articles and eventually came across one called "12 ways to get a second chance in life".  It looked interesting to me so I started reading but stopped at number 4 which read:

4. Accept accountability for your current situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.
You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is giving up.

For whatever reason this made me uneasy.  I couldn't put a finger on WHY it made me uneasy so I've been sitting here thinking and I realized I just don't like it.  I don't think everyone is responsible for their current situation.  I say this because looking back 2 years ago in my life, December 2009 my husband Steve moved out.  This was not something I chose, however I tried to take responsibility for his choices and it tore me up.  I took blame for everything from gaining too much weight to nagging too much to not praying hard enough or reading enough scriptures, clear back to 9 years earlier when I made the choice to get married without really praying about it.  So what was it?  Was I too fat?  Did I marry the wrong person and the consequences came 9 years later?  At times I find I still wonder what it is and what I did wrong.  I know I made mistakes, and I know I made mistakes that were a big deal and more often than I should have but I don't believe I did anything "bad" enough to end up alone in a place where I knew no one and was suddenly abandoned by the one person I should have been able to depend on 100%. 
I had to realize that I wasn't in that situation because I chose to be or that it was my responsibility.  What it boils down to is that he chose his addictions over his family.  He was given a choice to keep his family and give up an addiction that could ruin the lives of our sons if they became ensnared in it, or leave and take his addiction with him.  He chose the latter.
I can't look back in my life and pinpoint the one mistake or choice I made that placed me the situation I was in because there isn't one.  When I got married I had no idea he had the problem he did.  It took me a whole year to figure it out.  I wanted to help him, I wanted to fix things, and I went to my bishop a year later when I found that I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried.  My bishop counseled me to stay, through good times and bad, sickness and health, just as I had promised in my wedding vows.  So I stayed.  I went through another 7 years of heartache, finding the problems over and over, struggling with my self esteem, wondering what I did wrong and giving him chance after chance because I knew if I tried, the Lord would pull me through and make everything better.  I followed him to California, sure that once we were in a place where he was happier, with a job that he enjoyed doing, he would lead a better life and be the husband he should have been all along.  He left us 3 months later.
I think if we Accept Accountability for ALL of our situations, we'll end up in a cycle of regret and guilt.  If I choose to blame myself for suddenly becoming single, I would forever question and wonder and have feelings of failure and shame.  And if I choose to believe that I was being punished for marrying him 9 years earlier, then I know I would be too scared to do anything for fear it may not end up the way I want it to, therefore resulting in more guilt for making a "mistake" I didn't know I was making. 
So, I can accept that allowing myself to get up to 172 pounds made him unhappy with the way I looked.  I can accept that I nagged too much, that I was short tempered, and that I made many other little mistakes over our 9 years together, but I will also accept that these things that made him unhappy are not the reason he left.  They aren't the reason we were in a crappy situation.  They didn't help but if it comes down to just one reason, it's that I wasn't good enough for him, which wasn't my fault.  I can accept that how I've handled my life the last two years since then is my responsibility (for the most part) but that I can't make people be nice, I can't make them love me, I can't make them be honest, and I can't keep them from hurting, abandoning, and affecting other peoples lives. 
But I'm so grateful that Steve took his problems and left when he did, because without his choice to walk away, I wouldn't be here in my warm comfortable home, married to the love of my life who makes me feel amazing, and surrounded by my 6 wonderful children.

2 comments:

Lezhai said...

You're absolutely right...it wasn't your fault that he had this addiction, it wasn't your fault he said the horrible things he did. It wasn't your fault that he left.

However, you need to accept the fact that because of his own addictions and insecurities he pushed those insecurities and guilt on to YOU! You let him...you let him make you feel like you were too fat and not good enough. In a sense you became "a slave to their (HIS) ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own."

You can't make people love you, be nice, kind or even stay in your life, but you can accept accountability for how those people make you feel, act and become. You can't lay your life in someone else's hands, grab your life by the horns...whether you are dealt blow after blow after blow, you can't keep blaming other people's actions for your life.

Your life is just what YOU make it!!

Amber Merrell said...

Thank you Lezhai! I agree with everything in your post. You're beautiful and amazing!