Two weeks ago, a stray cat showed up in our driveway. We live in the mountains, and many people own “outdoor” or “barn” cats. We found his owners quickly, and they picked him up. “He’s a couch surfer. He’ll go wherever someone will give him food,” they said. “Plus, we have two new kittens, and I don’t think he likes them much.”
When the cat—Oscar—showed up at another neighbor’s door just a week later, we offered to have it brought to our house and contact the owners again. We called them, they were out of town. “If we could fence him in, we would. He just keeps wandering,” said the owner. I was asked to put Oscar outside and not feed him. They hoped he’d go home. (Not very likely; he’d visited two of my neighbors in the last two weeks. In fact, he had remained at one of their homes for over a week.)
I’d already fed Oscar, and he remained with us overnight in the laundry room (when he wasn’t sitting on my lap). In the morning, I offered him the chance to go out. He did and then came in. Then out, and in, and out…and was gone.
When we returned from a walk on the beach many hours later, though, Oscar was lying on the chaise lounge on the front patio.
Voting with Your Feet
Long ago, we acquired a cat from our neighbor. It didn’t get along with their dog or the other two cats they owned. Struggling to get its share of food, it decided to have its meals at our house, where we were already feeding a feral cat inherited with our home.
I often called the neighbors to let them know the cat was at our house. Like Oscar, she voted with her feet…over and over again. Eventually, the neighbors asked us to adopt the cat since it obviously wasn’t happy at their house. So, we did.
Similarly, Oscar votes with his feet. He continually runs away from home, which means he’s not happy there. So, he goes looking for a better life elsewhere.
Oscar is proactive! More than that, he takes responsibility for himself and his life. The cat wants something different— something more—for himself and is willing to risk losing his home to go find it. He travels at least a mile through the woods to look for it every time he runs away from home. And he braves getting eaten by a coyote, mountain lion, or bobcat.
Most of us do not take that degree of responsibility for our selves and our lives. We stay in all sorts of uncomfortable situations or ones we don’t like rather than vote with our feet. We’d rather blame the situation, others, or anything we can think of than take responsibility. That begs the asking of some questions…
Are you taking responsibility for yourself and your life?
Are you being proactive about creating—or seeking out—the life you want?
Your answers are a good indication of the level of responsibility you feel and take for your life.
Don’t be a Victim
Oscar’s owners believe it’s Oscar’s fault that he leaves. They claim: “He’s a couch surfer…always looking for a free meal.” And “Going where he gets attention…where there are people…is his MO.”
For them, their cat’s wandering is not about how they care for (or don’t care for) him. It’s Oscar’s fault…his personality defects.
They blame the cat. By doing so, Oscar’s owners become the cat’s victims.
Oscar, on the other hand, refuses to be a victim of his owners. He doesn’t blame them for going away for days at a time and leaving him outside or showering attention on the new kittens and not him. He takes full responsibility for his life.
That’s why he leaves…over and over again…despite the risk.
What about you?
Are you staying in a life that doesn’t give you what you need…and blaming someone or something else for your situation?
Do you feel like a victim?
Your answers indicate the degree to which you are in victimhood…and whether or not you are being fully responsible for yourself and your life.
Reclaim Your Power
When you blame, you become a victim. And victims feel powerless.
In fact, you are enormously powerful. And, if you take responsibility for yourself and your life, you possess the ability to change just about anything.
It might not happen overnight. But every time you take action to improve yourself and your situation, you increase your ability to create the life you want. You act responsibly and demonstrate your personal power. And change will follow.
Are you taking responsibility for yourself and your life? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with someone you feel would benefit by reading it.
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