This poster is making the rounds on Facebook:
Before I had my current job, I’d have believed this. Why wouldn’t we be responsible for our own decisions and choices? Doesn’t that make sense?
Now, if these words help people, that’s great! I’m all for inspirational words coming at the right time to help get you where you need to go.
It’s just that for some (or all?), it’s not that simple. I’ve been learning how trauma affects people’s brains, their choices, and their actions, including how childhood trauma has repercussions lasting far into adult life. You can retrain the brain, but it takes time and effort, and one important piece to that is recognizing that you need to change something. This means you need to understand the causes behind why you act the way you do.
This means, in effect, that “you and only you” may not be responsible for the choices and decisions you make.
I’m certainly no expert, and this is just a superficial look at something very complex. I also don’t want to say that we’re absolving people of responsibility entirely either.
It’s just that lately, I see so many of these posters with statements that sound great on the surface and are passed around to great acclaim, yet when you dig a little deeper, the message isn’t as helpful. We owe it to ourselves to take a step back and really look at the meaning as well as the saying.
Though like I said, if this does help you, then that’s awesome.
I mentioned childhood trauma–check out the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study: http://acestudy.org/.