Parable for Responsibility - SMART thinking :)

Old 10-02-2012, 10:29 PM
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Parable for Responsibility - SMART thinking :)

A Parable on Responsibility

You are stuck in a deep dark hole. Above you, you can see different kinds of people walking by. You shout up to them and they wave and walk by. You get angry and start to blame and damn them for your being stuck in the hole. They still just wave and walk by.

Determined, you start to yell at them and to damn them even more virulently. Some now stop to listen. One agrees with you and says that he will go and write a law against people being in holes and leaves. Another lowers down some water and commiserates with you but does nothing to get you out. Still another starts yelling along with you at others as they pass by. Of all the reactions you get, none helps you to get out of the hole.

You start to think that there must be something wrong with you. You now start to damn yourself for being in the hole. However, this form of damning doesn't help you get out either. But you are at least persistent and now continue to damn those above and yourself as well. Yet, despite all your best efforts, you remain in the hole.

One day an old man with a long white beard stops by your hole. Waiting for a break in your whining, he finally asks "Can you stand to know the truth?" You reply that since you can stand being in the hole, you can stand anything. The old man replies, "Then I will tell you the only way out of your hole."

"First, you are right to hold others as responsible for your being in the hole, though certainly not all who pass by. Others not only dug your hole for you, they also threw you in it. And far worse, they taught you to damn whoever is responsible."

"Why shouldn't I damn them? Why shouldn't I complain? You even agree that they put me here to begin with!"

"Because that is the hole. It does not matter if you are damning them or yourself--that is the hole. Yes, they are responsible for digging the hole in the first place. Yes, they are responsible for throwing you in the hole in the first place. But only you are or can be responsible for your staying in the hole right now."

"How can that be? Why don't you just lift me out?"

"Because you would fall back in as soon as you started to damn those who threw you in the first time."

"But if they are responsible then why shouldn't I damn them."

"This is the key to your getting out and staying out of the hole: responsibility does NOT equal or excuse damning. It doesn't matter if you damn them or yourself--either one will recreate the hole around you!"

"It sounds like you want me to be responsible for my own problems when you admit that they did do me wrong. How can that work?"

"They are responsible for putting you there in the first place as they raised, educated, and trained you for the hole. But only you are responsible as an adult for staying there."

"How can I be responsible and they be responsible and no one gets any blame?"

"Responsibility or accountability are NOT the same as damning. Once you can see them as responsible without damning them, and yourself as responsible without damning yourself, then and only then will you live outside the hole."

"What you say just doesn't feel right."

"The hole is a wonderful trap that becomes a habit, and whatever you practice a lot feels right. You are in the hole if you damn them and you are in the hole if you damn yourself. So you feel like you are trapped. But the trap is only in your mind. Separate responsibility from damning. Practice total acceptance of self and others with mistakes and wrongs."

"I just don't get it."

"Let me try once more. Not only did they dig your hole and throw you in your hole, they made it certain that you would never get out of your hole. They made you your own prisoner by teaching you that if you do bad you are bad and if you are responsible for bad then you are bad. Now, you won't face your own responsibility for staying in the hole because that supposedly makes you bad according to your inherited logic. As a result, you now keep yourself in the hole NOT them--they don't have to."

"That just sounds like you want to blame me!"

"You just proved my point. Quite an ingenious trap isn't it? Let your mind work on what I said. I have to go now. Good luck sorting it out."

The moral of the story is that responsibility without damning self or others is freedom and responsibility with self-damning and-or other-damning is the prison, the hole.

The problem is that others are responsible for leading you astray. So you feel self-righteous and damn them. And so dig the hole for yourself The problem is also that you think you are responsible as you must be stupid, defective, or somehow inferior. Again, you dig the hole by damning. The problem is also that since responsibility equals damning for you, you cannot face your responsibility to dig yourself out of the hole as it is too painful, it is only more of the hole for you. The problem is that no matter which way you turn the issue of responsibility, it will only lead to the hole of damning for you. The problem is that you would rather damn them than damn yourself as for you it is either-or: someone must be damned so it might as well be them. The problem is damning will never be peace, love, understanding, forgiveness, happiness, freedom, play, creativity, joy, discovery, flow, fun. The problem is you must be responsible for your responses and you cannot be for you are damned if you are and damned if you aren't.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:17 AM
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During my darkest days, an old friend told me that I needed to learn about forgiveness, forgiveness of others, and then of myself. I am not sure if that is still on my to-do list, but I know that I have learned much about acceptance. Acceptance of things that happened was liberating because these events no longer carried with them the baggage of anger and blame. Acceptance was liberating because I was free then to make the choices that needed to be made, and to accept the responsibility for my future. The time came when I decided that this responsibility meant I no longer had to drink anymore, and that I would be responsible for my sobriety.

A very thought provoking story, allforcnm. Thank you for sharing it, and for sharing it here. Hope to see you around here more often.

As a postscript, allow me to append Timshel.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by allforcnm View Post
The problem is that others are responsible for leading you astray.
Don't see it this way. I am responsible for listening to them and following them. I have a choice not to. It's up to me. No one put a gun to my head.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:56 PM
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Hi Charon,

Thank you for your insight. I agree with you that the concept of holding others responsible is not something everyone does. In fact; probably not the majority of people.

But I will admit, that there have been times in my life when I have felt I would not be in certain situations ( i.e. a hole) if it had not been for a series of events that put me there; and oh yeah…. I wasn’t responsible for all those events; other people contributed (they helped put me in that hole !!!)

As a family member (my husband is headed toward 6 months clean now); I found myself separated from him, all alone with our infant son. I made some bad choices with my life; didn’t turn to substances, but I still compromised my own core values. And then when I fell into my hole….. there was a point where I felt none of this would have happened IF it wasn’t for the actions of my husband. If he hadn’t got involved with drugs, a series of events would not have befallen me; and I never would have made the bad choices for myself.

So part of my healing was accepting that I was responsible for my own actions regardless of anything that my husband did in his life. He was not responsible at all ! And once I was able to see that, then I realized I alone had the power to get out of my hole; and also I was able to let go of any resentment that I had been holding against my husband.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:09 PM
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Allforcnm my experience was similar. I was responsible for the choice I made inregards to the addict in my life. SMART taught me how to move away from feeling it was her fault and realizing what I could do to change my twisted sense of values.

For my safety I fled home one day, and ended up in a homeless shelter. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am now sharing a home with two other sober women and am more content in this first week than I was in the last ten years of my life.

I attribute this 90% to my SMART tools.
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