A responsible choice is a choice that creates consequences that you are willing to assume responsibility for. For example, you may usually shout when you become angry. Shouting in anger pushes people away, they are intimidated by you, they are cautious about sharing with you, and you become isolated. The more isolated you become, the angrier you become, and the more isolated and lonely you become, even if you are surrounded by people. This is because the people who surround you will have energy like yours. They will also be angry, and judgmental, too. They will find faults with others, the system (any system), and live their lives as righteous victims. They will try to convince others of the wrongs and injustices they see and of their own superiority. When they succeed, they bond with those people. Their group of “Us” becomes larger and always in conflict with a group of “Them.” If you are an angry person, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to act in anger, and you will.
Here is another example. Some people feel good about helping others, and they do so often. They do not realize that their good deeds have a second agenda. They want to be appreciated. When a care-taker gives and gives and does not receive appreciation, thanks, or even acknowledgement, she becomes resentful. Her resentment grows over time and eventually turns to anger, and then explodes at the person who is not thankful or appreciative. People at first enjoy her care-taking, but after a while, they avoid it, unless they desperately need it, because it feels “sticky.” It comes with strings attached, unspoken obligations, and people do not like it. The more they resist it, the more unappreciated the care-taker feels, the more resentful she feels, and the angrier she becomes. If you are a care-taker, is this what you want to create? If so, continue to caretake, and you will.
Caretaking is different from care-giving. Care-giving has no second agendas or hidden motives. The care is given from love for the joy of giving without expectation, no strings attached. It cannot be manipulated or discouraged because love cannot be manipulated or discouraged. Care-givers attract care-givers and live in a community of love. They are energized by their caring, fulfilled, and they love life. Care-takers attract care-takers and live in the company of resentful victims who see themselves as misused and are fatigued from constant giving with no return.
Care-giving requires the intention of love, care-taking requires the intention of fear. Not acting in anger when you are angry requires the intention of love. Shouting when you are angry requires the intention of fear – the intention to manipulate and control others – to pursue external power. When you know your intention, you are in a position to choose the consequences that you will create for yourself. When you choose an intention that creates consequences for which you are willing to be responsible, that is a responsible choice. When the intention you choose is love, you create authentic power.