> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Six Questions to Empower Yourself

November 16, 2016 | by Debbie Gutfreund

A tool to help you stop blaming and take personal responsibility for your life.

I used to have a "blame" list stored in the back of my mind for whenever anything went wrong in my life. The list included: my childhood, the weather, the system, my husband, my kids, the guy who cut me off in traffic and on and on.

But one day I heard this quote from Jim Rohn: "You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind but you can change yourself." I decided every time my "blame" list would try to weave its way back into my thoughts, I would mentally rip up that list and replace it with my new one. Who is responsible in my life for every day and every feeling that I have? Me. Who is responsible for my relationships, my finances, my fitness, my thoughts, my actions and my moods? Me. Every moment. Every day.

To reinforce this idea of personal responsibility I learned to ask myself these six empowering questions whenever I felt stuck.

1. Have I done everything that I can to make my life more meaningful today?

Sometimes we attend an inspiring class or read a great book, and we can't figure out why a few days later we are back to living with the same mundane mindset. Meaning isn't something we find and then hold onto; it's something we need to search for and imbue our lives with every day. What have I done today to make my life meaningful?

2. Am I taking responsibility for the relationships in my life?

Sometimes we weaken our relationships because we would rather be right than connected. Regardless of whether someone else is wrong or not living up to our expectations, are we being the best versions of ourselves in our connections with others? Am I recognizing the good in others and expressing gratitude for having them in my life? Do I recognize that each person is doing the best that he can with the tools that he has? And if someone is a negative influence in my life, have I taken respectful, assertive steps to limit my time with that person? Have I done my best today to own the relationships that I create in my life?

3. Is this choice moving me towards my goals?

Every thought, feeling and action that we take each day can either move us toward or away from our goals. No one and nothing can "ruin" our day if we respond to our circumstances in empowering ways that move us closer to who we want to become. Is this response helping me? Is the story that I'm telling myself about this situation helping me or holding me back?

4. What am I learning from this?

Every person and every situation has something to teach us. What am I learning from what is happening or has happened? What can this person or meeting or project teach me? What can I do with what I have learned?

5. Have I done everything possible to make myself happier?

Sometimes we choose to remain in situations that we feel stuck in because we have decided for whatever reason that it is not the right time for us to make a major change. But that doesn't mean we need to make ourselves miserable in those circumstances. We need to ask ourselves: How can I make myself happier in this situation? What can I control? What can I change?

6. What can I do today to improve my life and the lives of those around me?

There is always something we can do to make the world a better place, even if it's a small gesture of kindness and warmth. What am I doing today to improve my life and change myself? Whose life can I make just a little bit brighter?

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