Honesty towards oneself is difficult. Up until recently I had completely failed to look back on my life and draw honest conclusions about it. It’s difficult because to be honest is to admit that you made the wrong choices, that you are flawed, that you could have done a lot better. Nobody likes to believe that about themselves, it’s way easier to blame some external factor than to admit that you have a huge part to play in all of your failings. The fact is though, unless you are some extremely unfortunate saint, you probably do shoulder most if not all of the blame for your misfortune.
When I was younger I would blame an unequal society that has stacked the deck against me for the fact that I am not as successful as someone of my intelligence should be. The reality is though, I didn’t try hard at school, I choose to persue further education in a field that is unlikely to get me a high paid job, I was far more interested in smoking marijuana than I was in my higher education career, I dropped out of university because I was too stoned and couldn’t be bothered, I didn’t try half as hard as I could have to find a job after dropping out. At every single point I made a choice that would negatively affect my future self. I used to blame society for not valuing people with a different outlook. That’s not true, society does value different outlooks, just not the outlook of lazy stoned angst. It’s easy to resent the world for where I am today, but every single step on the road to this point was a poor decision on my part.
It’s hard to swallow that, but it is the truth. It does have some positivity to it though. In realising that I was in control of all the poor decisions I made, I also realised that I am in control of all the future choices that present themselves to me. I’m not just a pinball in a malevolent game that is out to destroy me, I’m a conscious agent, capable of making choices that will benefit my future self. As soon as I realised this I was transformed.
I looked at my relationship with cannabis and realised that excessive consumption of the drug was linked to most of the poor choices in my life. It wasn’t easy to accept this because I fucking love being stoned, but since then I haven’t bought any (although I admit to occasionally having a puff if a joint is passed my way). I feel more in control, and more motivated.
I realised that my job isn’t beneath me, that I shouldn’t resent where I am because I put myself here. Since then my mood at work has improved dramatically, despite having to work most weekends so far this year. People have been asked to do far worse things. My job is alright, I was just being pathetic and whiny about it.
I realised that I can control my weight. That eating large bags of crisps to comfort myself was not a path to a body that I am happy with. I have lost 3 stone and counting since Christmas. I have never felt more confident about my body.
The act of self deception with regards to responsibility is something that removes our ability to exert control over ourselves. If everyone else is to blame for where you are then everyone else is to blame for where you end up. That is a lie. You are in control. Realising that is a double edged sword, it means that you own your mistakes, but you can also do something about rectifying them.