What do you give the majority of your focus each day: external distractions or internal workings of the body and mind? A quality life is created by quality choices. As long as you choose to complain and point fingers externally, you miss the opportunity to transform and empower yourself internally. The problem and the solution are always within each one of us. The Ego may wish to deny this, but there is no escaping the Truth of what is.

One of our greatest human experiences of suffering revolves around blame. There are vast amounts of individuals in our world whose lives are based on blaming others for what they have and don’t have in their lives. Such people are in constant states of dissatisfaction and suffering because they believe that some “other” person or group is responsible for the negative state of things in their life. This may be their spouse, their children, their parent(s), their sibling(s), their friend(s), their coworker(s), the government, corporations, etc. Yet, in projecting their blame onto others, such people are only deflecting personal responsibility for their choices.

As long as we live with the idea that the external world is responsible for our happiness and unhappiness, we are bound to live in states of suffering, anguish, and victimhood. In such states, we are making ourselves completely dependent on the whims and actions of others. We are giving away our personal power and failing to take accountability for our role in our own lives. Only when we step into the fullness of our being—our knowing, our personal life creation—that we detach ourselves from allowing our external to dictate our state of being and create our reality from the inside out.

However, it takes a certain level of self-awareness and humility to shift our perspective from being externally-focused to internally-focused. As long as we point the finger outwards and carry various resentments towards all the people and entities we believed wronged us, we are giving up our personal power. We essentially agree to be a perpetual victim.

Only when we turn the focus inward can we start seeing how our own thoughts, words, and actions create the circumstances in our lives that we have to live with. The more we can empower ourselves by taking responsibility for our lives, the more we begin to live a life based on joy, equanimity, satisfaction, and inner peace regardless of our circumstances. It is not what happens to us that creates our heaven or our hell, but how we perceive the events in our lives. The longer we blame others, the longer we suffer because we can never control others’ actions; we can only control ourselves. Of course, if we do not take any steps towards self-mastery and personal fulfillment, we remain limited by false beliefs about why things are the way they are in our lives.

It is a huge realization to make in one’s life and one of the most rewarding: Your life is a culmination of your choices. Your happiness and sadness are largely created by your ability to choose empowering versus disempowering thoughts. One can have everything others would deem lucrative and still live in states of misery and inner torment. Likewise, one can have a simple life and feel richer and more fulfilled than the wealthiest people out there.

Your happiness is in your hands, and more importantly, in your mind. This sounds so easy, yet has eluded most humans for millennia. Some people actually fight against this notion and resist it heavily because it demands too much of us, much more than many people are ready for. Let’s be honest; it is much easier to blame and take on a victim’s identity. This relinquishes our need to take responsibility and change ourselves, which is required if we want different results in our lives.

When we take personal responsibility for our lives, we create our own happiness, gratitude, appreciation, and satisfaction. These all then spill over onto everything and everyone else in our life. It is easy and pleasant to be around such people in our lives. Unfortunately, when we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, we create negative states of anger, frustration, entitlement, and hostility. Likewise, these too, then spill over onto everyone and everything in our lives, making us very difficult to be around.

In the end, the choice is yours. You can continue to live as if other people owe you something and then blame them when they don’t deliver on your expectations, or you can take charge of yourself and your life and create your own happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.