One devotee told me that her husband withdrew money from their joint account and ran away with it, leaving her with nothing. The counselor then asked the woman to tell the same story again, but now on the basis that she was responsible for what had happened. Approaching history from this point of view, she realized that it was foolish of her to trust her husband and open a joint account with him. After all, she had already had experience before, indicating that this man is not trustworthy in financial matters. This shows that we often think of a problem as something outside of ourselves, when in fact it is within us.
One way to switch into accountability mode is to ask yourself the right questions. Instead of asking, “Why did they do this?” ask, “How can I…?”
When faced with a difficult situation, we can ask ourselves another question: “If I were the world’s expert on (underline: anger management, self-control, management, communication) and worked with a client who had exactly the same problem as me, what would I say to him/her? The purpose of this question is to achieve objectivity and to understand what are the options for responding to a particular problem.
To practice responding to a situation from a higher level, ask yourself, “What would someone who is stronger or more determined, more intelligent, or more Krishna conscious, do in this situation?” Sometimes we think that there is only one way to react to a situation, but in fact, not everyone reacts to the same circumstances in the same way.
Sometimes accepting responsibility can be overwhelming for us. It happens that at one moment everything begins to collapse on all fronts, and we may not have the ability and qualifications to adequately cope with the situation. We can take this as an opportunity offered by Krishna to learn how to persevere through difficulties. We may think that Krishna is giving us the opportunity to become stronger.
Responsibility also means that when we are not very good at keeping things under control, we need to act the way we would like others to act.
Again, the bottom line is that we shouldn’t look at what we can’t do; we need to look at what steps we can take to move forward.