In life it is easy to blame. Blame everything else around us for why something hasn't happened or complain about a person, or use "ifs", "shoulds" and "buts"
First of all, I'm not perfect and say these things all the time. And well, we can't be too hard on ourselves. We're all trying our best.
So where did this thought come from today? Lately I've been watching a lot of Youtube, Facebook posts, reading and podcasts about self development, and a lot of them keep coming back to one singular theme:
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE
Simple you think. But think of when something not so great has occurred. Think of how quickly you have said "but I couldn't have done anything" or "but that time was different" or "it's just not right now" (and yes sometimes there are real moments when things are out of our control, see below) and on the flip side, and far more positive on the spectrum- when something positive has occurred because we, ourselves, have made it happen and how quick we are not to congratulate ourselves "it was a fluke" "this one time but it won't happen again" "this is ok but I could do better" and not allowing ourselves to really enjoy the moment of success.
I guess it comes back to that old chestnut of knowing the things we can and can't change about ourselves and our situation and knowing the difference.
I bring this back to Acting and profession as an artist- first of all, we tend to compare ourselves to others who we believe to have had far more success than ourselves. I've had a huge journey with this. I don't know an actor/performer/ artists who hasn't. Can we do much when we have fits of jealousy? Unfairness and generally "why not me?" moments. We can, but it does take some personal realisations, taking it on and the choice of what to do next about it. Maybe these particular feelings come up in the arts so much because success in the arts is so defined by how much others approve or like us (fame, TV, fan status, everything presented in a public forum, unlike other jobs where results are seen in private (depending of course!). We can take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, acknowledge them and then move it into a more positive movement- or taking responsibility. In one meditation I listened to, it was discussed how that in every single moment you have the decision to be fully present and take responsibility for the choices you make in that moment. I think that's very powerful.
Also, we tend to focus on the people that upset us rather than make us feel better. A classic in the Acting/ arts world in modern times would probably be Facebook. We sometimes focus on how well everyone else is doing( of course this has existed before Facebook but now it's just so much more public and in your face (ha!) all the time), assuming a lot about their situation, assuming they must be happier than us because they got "the golden gig" that everyone wanted, or having someone else's ignorance or self absorption entering our own lives. Believe it or not, and this is a hard one- we do have a choice. Yes! First we can choose, with this example- how much are we letting it enter our lives (ie. how much am I allowing facebook for instance to be "on"?) When we hear that gossip, or we don't feel great around someone, or we "think" we should work with someone because we "think" it's the right thing to do, and we don't actually listen to ourselves and our integrity, we suffer. We let those who don't make us feel better about ourselves (or simply listen) take up so much space and energy in our lives to the extent we don't know who we are anymore. That's because our integrity is out (Just started listening to Liz Gilbert's Magic lessons podcast, can you tell?) It's empowering to know you can take responsibility and let those people enter your life or not. You can choose how much time you spend around them, or even how much they are in your Facebook feed if that's what it comes down to or how much you disperse your energy in the audition room or whatever it may be... to be about other people rather than just your own journey.
Now- this isn't the talk that is usually talked. In our Acting/ Performing world (or maybe any business world, I'm not sure) we are told that Networking is key. And I've often agreed with this- I have never personally seen it as a dirty word, but it is for a lot of people and I assume it's because what people think, as I've thought at one time was - Be nice to everyone. Talk about yourself. Be friendly or you won't get the part (yes literally the definition in this one short sentence like that). But for too long, I've seen so many actors, plus myself feel dis-empowered, low status, fed into the belief they are "the bottom of the mill" and don't deserve other people's time. Or if they do, they can't disrupt the feathers too much because it will mean they don't get a gig. So being nice gets mistaken for 'don't be yourself'. And even though I'm a good talker, you start to learn it's not talking about yourself it's about asking questions and making new friends.
I'm not saying don't not try to be nice- just try to interact with people like they're a normal human being just like you and that's a good start. Often I've heard those who we think are in "powerful" positions say they're not sure why people are making a fuss of them, or have no problem handing their email over or don't know why people are scared of them or treat them differently. Its because we've endowed as actors that everyone except ourselves is important. When you listen, ask questions and interact in a genuine way- That's how you see if you have a genuine connection with someone and open the gates to see if you will form a friendship. And that friendship may or may not lead to other opportunities but you're not making friends because of that reason, it's a by product.
Anyway- I digress- back to the topic. I feel lucky that I've taken responsibility many times in my life with either small or large tasks or personal moments or relationships. But we all know the times we have not. Let's step up and face the facts that we can choose. And when we choose authentically, everyone wins.