Everyone who has
been on a personal growth path for any length of time has been told that “you
are the creator of your world” or “you are not a victim” or some variation
thereof. Most would agree to both statements if asked. However, when in a
real-life situation, where something happens we don’t like, even those who “have
been meditating 75 years” or “knew Werner Erhardt personally and helped design
all his trainings” or who claim to have taken every personal growth training and
read every self-help book on Earth (twice), begin blaming something outside of
themselves for what has happened.
Giving lip service to these principles is not going to be helpful to you.
Intelligent and sophisticated sophistries to convince yourself and others that
you are not responsible for what is happening are not going to help you, either.
Why? Because until you realize that you create your experience of your world,
including all happiness and all suffering, you will be at the effect end of the
cause and effect process. You, and your experience of life, will be controlled
by, and at the whim of, whatever is happening around you. Your only chance for
happiness will be to find perfect circumstances and to find a way to keep them
And you know, if you think about it, how likely that is.
The truth is, you are responsible for every feeling or behavior you have, in the
sense that it is either your chosen response to something that happens, or is an
automatic unconscious response based on the way your internal map of reality has
This is very different from saying you are to blame for every feeling or
behavior you have. Taking personal responsibility is not about blame but rather
about personal power. If someone or something outside of you is the cause of how
you feel or behave, you are powerless-a victim. If you, or at least your
unconscious processes, are at cause, you have power and can do something to
change the situation to one that is happier and more peaceful. Things outside of
you may be a stimulus for you, but how you respond comes from you, either
consciously or unconsciously.
You can live in a world where other people or events "cause" you to feel the way
you feel, but there is a price. The price is that you will feel bad a great deal
of the time. Or, you can choose to take total responsibility for every feeling
you have and every behavior you have. Having done so, you suddenly are at the
“cause” end of the cause and effect process, where you can choose how you feel
and how you behave.
If what you feel and how you behave is a choice, you can, of course, just
make the right choice: to feel something that feels good, or to behave in a way
that has the greatest chance of having a good outcome. But what do you do with
all those feelings and behaviors that seem to come unbidden, automatically?
Since for most people, even those who are “advanced” seekers, the majority of
feelings and behaviors fall into this category, this is a very important
First, begin by accepting this main premise: that you are responsible for
the feelings and behaviors you have-even if you cannot directly see how you are
creating them. Most feelings and behaviors that “happen” to you are conditioned
responses, and somewhere, unconsciously, your internal map of reality tells you
to feel or behave in a certain way when you are stimulated in a certain way.
Perhaps when your father yelled at you as a child, you felt afraid, then angry.
Once this has been set up as a conditioned response, like Pavlov’s dogs
salivating when they heard the bell announcing dinner, someone yelling at you
will cause you to become afraid and then angry, and then perhaps behave in a
It seems as if these emotions are caused by the yelling. They are not. They
are triggered by the yelling perhaps, but they are caused by the conditioned
response set up, by your past, in your internal map of reality. Change the parts
of your internal map of reality that create this response and you could have a
completely different feeling, followed by a completely different behavior.
If the only yelling you had ever heard was Groucho yelling at Chico, you
might have a conditioned response to laugh every time you heard yelling.
Therapists often describe the phenomenon of exhibiting a certain feeling as
a conditioned response due to childhood trauma going into a regressed state.
This means someone yells at you now, but you feel like a powerless child, just
as you did when your father yelled at you, even though you are now a much more
powerful adult. Again, this is a conditioned response, and the yelling is not
causing the feeling, it is merely triggering it.
How can you tell the difference between a cause and a trigger? If there is
more than one possible response, if different people respond in different ways
to the same stimulus, the stimulus is a trigger. If there is only one possible
response, the stimulus is a cause. Pouring water over your head will get your
head wet. The water causes the wetness. Everyone who has the water poured over
their head will get wet. Yelling at someone could cause anger, laughter,
disinterest, puzzlement, fear, or any number of other reactions, depending on
the situation, and the way that person's internal map of reality is structured.
Yelling is a trigger, not a cause.
Even though yelling may result in some sort of uninvited feeling, just
knowing that it is triggering a part of your internal map of reality, and that
your internal map is generating your response, is a start in taking
responsibility for what is happening. This will begin the process of changing
your internal map of reality so you can make different choices.
There are many ways to make changes to your internal map of reality, which
is not the subject of this article. A good therapist can help, an NLP
practitioner can help, a behavioral psychologist can help, even tools such as
Anthony Robbins books and tapes can help. Certainly Centerpointe's Holosync
Solution program and the various Centerpointe knowledge products can help, as
they are specifically designed to help you make changes in your internal map of
Your goal is for each response to each event be a choice. This means you can
choose what is most resourceful for you, what makes you happiest, most peaceful,
and most successful, in the way you want. As long as you are an automatic
response mechanism, with the part of you that generates your feelings and
behaviors operating outside your awareness, you are at the whim of events and
people around you.
But until you firmly acknowledge that every feeling and every behavior is
coming from you, regardless of what the world sends your way, you cannot make
any progress toward this goal.
To be able to choose how to feel, to choose the state you are in at any
given time, and to choose how you behave, and to be able to do all of this in
the most resourceful way possible, is one of the major components of freedom,
and is very worth working toward.
How does the Centerpointe program help this process? As you use the program,
what was unconscious and out of awareness becomes increasingly conscious. Your
conscious awareness of what you are doing, and why you are doing it, increases.
The program develops a “witness” part of you that is able to objectively pay
attention to everything without being emotionally involved. This is what
spiritual teachers mean when they speak of expanded awareness. Expanded
awareness allows you to see your conditioned responses for what they are.
Our culture has gravitated toward the popularization of victimhood over the
past several decades. No one is responsible for anything that happens to them.
Smokers are not responsible for getting lung cancer, shooters of guns are not
responsible for firing them, burglars even sue homeowners for injuring
themselves while breaking into a house. Criminals are not responsible for crimes
they commit because they had an unhappy childhood, or were under the influence
of drugs. Battering husbands (or wives) are not responsible for beating their
spouses because the other made them angry, or did such and such to them. These
are the more extreme cases, but you can, I’m sure, fill in the details from your
own life, if you are honest.
It is so easy to say “I can’t do ____. I have traumatic stress disorder,
ADD, a cold, alcoholism, no money, don’t read well, my father was distant, my
mother was smothering, I grew up in the inner city, I grew up in the country,
blah, blah, blah.”
In this popularization of victimhood, there is an underlying presupposition that
it is somehow easier to be a victim, that there is some benefit to not taking
responsibility, that taking responsibility would be onerous, difficult, a
struggle, too much work.
I want you to know that, without exception, it is being a victim that is
onerous, difficult, a struggle, and too much work. Being responsible for
everything that happens, and for every feeling and behavior, is the easy way to
live. It is the way to happiness, inner peace, and a productive life. It is the
sure way to end all the dramas in your life.
I highly recommend it.