I find myself feeling angry about the lack of personal responsibility in the world. How can we change the world for the better when we can’t even take responsibility for our own lives? Our emotions, health, jobs, positions… We blame others, our circumstances, the weather, anything to not put the onus upon the shoulders we carry. We create our own reality. When we don’t like where we are, we have two options, one, change or two, accept it.
Change is an easy word to use, not necessarily easy to enact. It’s scary. We might fall flat on our faces. We might fail. We might not like where we end up. All of these and more are true and possible. You don’t like your job? Change it. You don’t like your partner, change. You don’t like your hair, then change it. Some changes are bigger, some are smaller. I get it, some changes are crazy scary. It might take more time than you feel you have, it might take more money than you have, goodness knows what it could take. A different job could mean more schooling, less pay, lots more work. Is it worth it to you? What if the payoff is more pleasure? More time with your kids? What if you had the potential to earn more money? What would make you take the leap, what wouldn’t? Then make the choice to change and work on it. Bit by bit, day by day.
Wait! What if the payoff doesn’t feel worth it? Then accept where you are and that you have chosen to be there. That’s OK, you’re not a failure, you are making the decision that feels best for you, so embrace it. Be satisfied by it. Find the things in the job that you appreciate, maybe it gives you the money to go fishing on the weekends, or it gives you the opportunity to see your family every evening. Perhaps the commute is worth the time when you consider the money and where it allows you to live. Don’t blame the boss for your being miserable, you can change, or not, depending on what is most important to you, in your life, at that moment.
Your health is exactly the same. Make the little changes on a day-to-day basis that will help you feel how you want to feel. It’s not your doctor’s responsibility. It’s not the quick fix of the drug on the commercial. It’s not the latest fad diet or cleanse. It’s the time and energy to make the lunch rather than stopping through the drive-thru. It’s the self-respect of the glass of water rather than the soda. It’s noticing how you feel in the morning after the huge meal, glasses of booze, and late night. Where are the places you can find a middle ground? Where are the places to make the little changes? Where can you build a habit? How can I add a half hour more sleep? Which meal can I eat two to three vegetables with? What if I find two five-minute periods a day when I can stretch? What if I pay attention when my stomach aches and I figure out that it happens when I’m around a specific person? What can I do? What can I change?
We, as humans, have this amazing ability to make decisions. When I’m angry I reach for the cookies. Am I capable of noticing that in the moment and making a different decision? Sometimes, yes, sometimes I choose to eat the cookie anyway. It was still my choice. Do I beat myself up after choosing to eat the cookie? I’m learning not to. What good would it do? It doesn’t make the calories or the sugar response in my brain go away. So, I choose to sit down and relish every bite of that cookie and let the anger move right on out in the pleasure of the cookie. Each time I make one of the smaller choices in my every day life I learn more about how to make the big decisions. The lasting changes, the changes that make me feel good, healthy and happy, which in turn makes my family healthier and happier, which has far reaching consequences that we can’t even fathom. So, take responsibility for you and your choices and see what changes you might make in the world.
Pardon me, while I go eat a cookie.