It’s so easy to be influenced by the prevailing values of our culture. We are bombarded with messages to buy more and more. Several people were killed or injured in the U.S. on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, which is reputed to be the biggest shopping day of the year) because they were trampled by frenzied shoppers. This is insane; yet, how many of us find ourselves influenced by those messages to buy more? It’s difficult to swim against the consumerist current and to take back the holidays. Advertisers are brilliant at manipulating us.
Yet we are responsible for our choices, our actions, and our decisions. It may be challenging to embrace this responsibility, because so many forces around us make us unaware and unconscious about our decision-making, especially around the holidays. For example, many of us don’t think twice about buying wrapping paper that may have come from virgin forests just to be discarded moments after it’s been ripped off a package. Yet, we are responsible for those trees being cut down and for the waste generated and the pollution caused, from the production to the disposal of, not only the wrapping paper, but of everything we buy.
If you are making an effort to make connections and self reflect (Key 3), to model your message and work for change (Key 4), and to live your epitaph (Key 1), you have probably become more aware of the effects of your choices and the ways in which they do and don’t truly reflect your values. Now take responsibility for those choices.
If responsibility feels tiring and unpleasant, try reframing it. When you take responsibility you become the agent of your life. You gain freedom and strength, and a sense of yourself as powerful. When we refuse our responsibility we become victims of advertising and peer pressures and keeping up with the Joneses. Who wants that? Responsibility is liberating!
Image courtesy of davetoaster under Creative Commons.