I hear it all the time in spiritual circles, "YOU are responsible for EVERYTHING that has ever happened to you," and "There are no victims." These sentiments translate to, "You may not realize it, but you asked for it. It's your fault." It makes you responsible for everyone else's behavior, and it's a really crummy thing to say to people who are already struggling (and seriously, who's not?).
Even after a lifetime of spiritual pursuit, this sentiment still sounds like nails screeching down a chalkboard. SCREEEEEEEEECCCCHHHHHH
Whenever I've had the chance to ask for philosophical details from the people who have said it, I have. I've gotten lots of lame answers and blank stares.
Conversations go like this:
Me: So everyone is responsible for everything that has ever happened to them, am I hearing that correctly?
Them: Yes. Everything.
Me: So the woman who is raped while jogging in the park...she is responsible for being raped?
Them: Well, umm, that's a horrible thing, but she chose to be at the park at that time. Something drew her there. Her karma, maybe.
Me: Okay, what about babies who are beaten and molested? Are they responsible for being abused?
Them: Well you see, you choose your parents before you incarnate. You chose them based on the lessons you wanted to learn here. Plus, people come with karma from past lives, so no one is innocent anyway, not even babies.
Me: What about children who are kidnapped by strangers? What about strangers who murder random people? What about horrible accidents?
Them: Well, we all have free will, so...
I can't take it. I just can't. We have to clear this up. Victim blaming isn't helpful, and it adds to the shame and powerlessness of being victimized to begin with.
Can you imagine this pre-incarnation conversation...
Me: Hey, loving spirit, Can I ask you a favor?
Them: Oh my gosh, I Am Love, and You Are Love...I'd totally do anything for you!
Me: Great! You see, I'm about to incarnate on Earth, and around that age of 4, I'm going to be dancing and spinning, delighting in the feel of my body, and the sunshine on my face, feeling really at home in this graceful form.
Them: Yeah? That sounds great!
Me: Yeah, I want you to humiliate me when that happens. I need that so I remember to not ever feel too good about myself, or too safe in my body. Can you do that?
Me: Just push me down and tell me how stupid I look. Maybe kick some sand into my face to drive the point home.
Me: No, seriously. Come on. You will be totally enlightened after, because it's a favor to me. You'll do it, right?
Yeah, not so much, me either. I can't imagine...
Here's the deal:
YOU are responsible for YOUR actions, YOUR reactions, YOUR thoughts, YOUR emotions, and all YOUR various feelings. YOU are responsible for making your life what you want it to be, regardless of what has happened to you.
You didn't ask anyone to hurt you. The love that you are wouldn't do that. The love they are wouldn't agree to it.
We have all been victimized in some way or another, big or small, but none of us need to play the role of victim. And that's the point.
You may have been victimized, but...
You don't have to play the role of a victim.
Take responsibility for what your life looks like right now, inner and outer, and make the changes that need to be made in order for you to be joyful, peaceful, and free. You are responsible for making YOU happy (you can't make anyone else happy). If there are things that can't be changed, accept them. Shift your paradigm with those things, and learn to be peaceful with them. Allow everything in your life to drive you toward your soul, toward your personal fulfillment, toward love and compassion.
Crummy stuff happens sometimes. It's our job to look for the silver linings, and if we can't find them, to create them.
Have you ever encountered this misconception?
What spiritual concepts have you heard that don't resonate with you?
Please share your thoughts below.
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North Kansas City, MO