I don’t think I invented this concept. However, it comes up in almost every one of my meditations and pops into my head at least 10 times a day.

Taking radical personal responsibility for one’s own experience is pretty powerful. Personal responsibility means when something is not going well, or someone is not behaving to my satisfaction, I must go inside and look to what is going on with me that is creating the discord in my life.

We attract what we put out there.

The outer experience is a mirror of our inner experience.

Your thought creates your reality.

The law of attraction.

Many of us have heard these proclamations before. We may even believe them to be true. In moments, we may even give them a fighting chance. However, while the sentences are short, putting them into action can be extremely tedious and challenging. I am just being honest. I have read enough books and watched enough YouTube videos that give you the simple concept and then tell you that you can change your life in a second and start manifesting your desires like it is as easy a pie. This is grossly misleading.

If you were one step away from becoming the Buddha, I would say go for it! Most of us have a long way to go before reaching the final stages of enlightenment. So, to radically change your life in a moment of realizing these universal truths is simply misleading.

Personal growth, which involves removing all of our inner trauma, faulty thoughts, behavioral habits, and core fears, takes time. I have seen and experienced radical transformation in seconds. However, there is always something else underneath that layer I just peeled away. Often, I experience a great revelation or release of some old way of thinking only to be faced by an even greater challenge to test my new found awareness. It can be frustrating if not enraging at times! It is almost like the universe does not reward us for our hard work. We just get harder and harder challenges to test our ability to handle them with grace. I compare it to school. You graduate high school only to be faced with college level work.

Some might view this as a punishment, others might enjoy the opportunity for greater learning. Life is no different. You may choose the easy path, and you will have little to show for it in the end. You will have learned very little and probably experienced very little joy. It is tough to experience wonderful emotions if you never have had anything to overcome or to challenge you. How would you know extreme happiness if you never allowed deep sorrow. You can only go as high as you can go low.

Back to radical personal responsibility. Knowing that you are the creator of your own experience, why not step into your full power as a manifestor? If you give your power away to others by proclaiming they are the source of your unhappiness then you are giving away your power as the mini-god of your own life. Experiences are not cosmically designed to punish you. They are your opportunities to practice and learn. Mastery of your own consciousness takes lifetimes (take it literally or figuratively depending on your beliefs).

At my university where we tend to push the envelope of the human comfort zone, we teach ourselves to become wildly curious about our own behavior (and of others). In the beginning, it can be difficult and painful to recognize how we abuse ourselves and others even with the best of intentions. Eventually, when we start to see how radically our lives change when we heal faulty thoughts and broken hearts, we become a little more excited about the opportunities to heal the next thing that comes up. Life becomes lighter. We become more bold and even fearless. I personally do not want these little thought demons (e.g. I am unworthy of love.) running my life and tainting my experiences.

That is really what is happening when we are dissatisfied with a person or experience. Our internal voices start chattering. They whisper in our ears that we are not worthy of something better, or we deserve this. The judge in our head starts proclaiming people and situations to be right or wrong with no mercy or room for compassion. These internal thought demons sabotage us into believing things that are simply untrue. Then the hurt and fear and emotional deluge begins. Where we go from there is pretty standard. Some shrink. Some fight. Some run.

It is all too easy to blame the other people and life in general for how you are feeling. This is not taking personal responsibility for yourself. This makes manifesting anything almost impossible because you do not believe you are in control. You believe you are a victim of circumstance and not-so-nice people. And this is why you can’t change your life in a second as the books and videos would have you believe.

You can however start practicing your manifesting abilities more successfully by taking control of your own life. Don’t blame others for how you feel. This can be tough and may require some help. However, realizing that your feelings are “yours” is the first step. Challenges in life (even the most tragic and unexpected) are opportunities for you to practice your skills: forgiveness, compassion, kindness, love, staying out of judgment, and self acceptance. Other people that trigger you are just offering you a chance to identify what still needs work. If selfish people annoy me, then I must ask how am I still being selfish that I cannot unconditionally love and accept those who are still learning?

I have been an observer my whole life. I have observed people believe that they are lonely when in reality they are surrounding by friends only they cannot see or accept them. I have observed people with unbelievable disabilities succeed and be very happy. I have seen the wealthiest people wallow in depression because they are focused only on what they do not have. I have seen poverty stricken people support and love each other with extreme joy. I have observed too many people miss their own worth because they believed someone who told them otherwise.

Own your own experience. Once you believe you are the mini-god of your own life, you will learn that you really can manifest the life you want. Radical personal responsibility should be a lifelong goal, not a quick fix.