Lessons from Personal Development
Lesson 1 : I am a response-able person
“Responsibility” is usually something nasty imposed on us. Most often as sad childhood memories of being nagged by our parents. Or being told by some authoritarian person that "you should be more responsible", while they do nothing themselves, and set a very poor example (of leading by example).
This is a form of cruelty based on guilt.
Whereas (as an adult) one of the greatest personal liberations we can find is the realisation that “responsibility” can be spelt “response-ability”. That is, the ability to respond and take control of a situation, instead of waiting for “someone” to “do something about it”. This makes us much more emotionally resilient and able to cope with events. It also enables us to take initiative, to be leaders, and lead by example.
This is a form of personal liberation, and a cornerstone of the best kinds of Personal Development Psychology.
Lesson 2 : Would you like pain or awareness with that?
The natural healthy human condition is to grow and learn.
We learn through pain or awareness.
Pain = lack of foresight and imagination - Oh! that fire! It just burnt me!
Awareness (and foresight etc) - if I stick my hand in that fire, it will burn.
No kind parent would push their child's hand into a fire to teach them that kind of lesson. But an awake parent will be conscious of the choice, and the dilema. How much space should I give my loved one, to let them learn for themselves? What should I do when they are wandering close to some harm?
When things do go wrong, some people cry out in anger and pain. If God loves us, why doesn't she save us from harm? Some might say it is exactly because our God loves us she lets us learn for ourselves, through pain or awareness, as we choose.
Pain might simply be any events outside our comfort zone. For the plants in my greenhouse, that can be too much cold (frost) or too much sun (burn). You might say the plants don't have much choice in the matter; rooted as they are in their own compost. But as a responsible gardener, seeking to grow the best plants possible, I have to moderate their experience of their external world. Perhaps our God has to do the same?
Actually, it's bigger than that.
The universe we live in almost seems to demand that we grow. If we try and ignore things, they have a habit of getting worse (growing in a negative direction) until we do pay attention. Unlike plants in a greenhouse, we can consciously pull up our own roots and move, even if we are habitually and emotionally immersed in our own compost.
Actually, it's still bigger than that.
If the universe we live in is a projection of our own internal reality, we build the reality we need the most. We can grow through internalised awareness, or from externalised awareness, as the external reality mirrors the internal reality. The only difference is that we externalise the parts of our personality we are the least aware of.
Next : The Path Least Travelled