Why I chose to take responsibility, and why I desperately want you to choose it too
“Life is at its best when everything has fallen out of place, and you decide that you’re going to fight to get them right.”― Thisuri Wanniarachchi
Do you want to know the hardest part about life?
In fact, until age 23 I didn’t even think I could do that.
Before that point, I waited and waited for my life to get better. And since I was not active in making it better, it never got better … and I slowly lost hope. The hardest part about life is living because we have to put in the work to make living meaningful. And, by taking the passive route, you choose to not be responsible for the outcome of your life. By taking the passive route you choose to not implement the necessary personal growth tools that will improve your life.
But that all changed for me when I broke my last straw: I allowed my emotions to overtake me and put my physical self in danger. Then instead of taking responsibility for my emotions and actions, I complacently continued to ride the “rock-bottom roller coaster” and let my family and friends stress the f*ck out about it — in hindsight I admit that was selfish.
It was at that point I was introduced to a psychologist who provided me with the self-care tools that kicked-started my journey toward a better life. And if you haven’t already, make sure you check out this week’s YouTube video that talks about 3 different self-care tools I want you to start implementing.
Once I starting implementing those self-care tools, I was hooked. I realized, when I actually put effort into making my existence meaningful, meaning started to unfold in front of my eyes. I learned I was responsible for giving myself a good life. And I realized that sh*tty things are always going to happen in life, but it is always up to me to be resilient to that sh*t.
If you take responsibility for your life and decide to create meaning for yourself, you will live a better, happier, and brighter future. Even if you’re taking baby steps, you are still moving in the right direction – the direction toward meaning. You just have to be patient. Because one day you’ll get to the end of the path and say “holy sh*t, I did it.” And because your steps were consistent over a long period of time, you might even get to the end of the path and say, “how did I even get here?”
You see, when I got to the end of my path and turned my rock bottom into my breakthrough, I almost didn’t believe it. I was so used to running on a low mood, that the gradual (yet still sudden) life improvement I experienced was hard to believe.
From the bottom of my heart and for a very long time, I didn’t think I could do it … but then all of a sudden I did it. And that magnificent feeling I got from taking responsibility for my life made me realize that if I can do it, everybody else can do it too. That recognition alone is what pushes me to make all of this content for you.
So as I retrace the path I took from rock bottom to breakthrough, I realize something groundbreaking that I’d been getting wrong my whole life. Allow me to pose this discovery in the form of a question and answer …
Do you want to know the best part about life?
… it’s living.
Yup. Same answer as the question i posed at the beginning of this post.
Just because something is hard to accomplish, that does not make the accomplishment meaningless! So just because life is hard, that does not mean a good life isn’t worth working for.
Now why is this a problem?
Because trying to convince somebody who is depressed, anxious, or generally suffering with poor mental health, that they need to “take responsibility for their life” is not easy. Because, as I vividly remember, when you hate your life and have trouble with the smallest tasks (like getting out of bed), taking on the huge task of taking responsibility for your life does not seem doable whatsoever.
So how do we make the truth – the “take responsibility for your life” truth – an easy pill to swallow?
And how do we make that pill easy to swallow just enough so that people can kick-start their personal development journey? Because after their journey starts, they need to be prepared for things to get hard again. Eventually, they will need to realize that pushing through pain is necessary when that pain has a purpose.
Well here’s my recommendation for making that pill easy to swallow: teach people to put themselves in a good position to start the journey, before they even start it.
Listen – before you work your ass off to improve you life, you need to be in a healthy position to do that. Otherwise, the work you put-in will feel exhausting and end up causing you more distress. So what do we actually need to start moving from rock bottom to breakthrough?
#1 We need to be heard and validated
Start with talking to someone you trust about your personal problems. Confide in someone you know has your back because they are going to help you brew the self-confidence necessary to take step #2.
And if someone is confiding in you, please just listen to what they have to say and let them know it is normal for someone’s mental health to deplete. But then also let them know there are ways to improve their mental health. And once they feel heard and validated, they’ll be more inclined to taking those steps. That leads me to the second thing we need…
#2 Talk to someone with credibility
Reach out to someone credible (either a health professional, coach, or mentor) so they give you actionable steps to improve your well-being. Professionals or people who have experience dealing with situations similar to what you are dealing with will best know how to respond. Someone older, wiser, and experienced will be able to offer you guidance so you can fill your personal growth tool-belt. And the more you fill your tool-belt, the more equipped you’ll be to tackle challenges you are faced with once you begin your trek down the path toward meaning. And that leads me to the third thing you need before you get started …
#3 Be prepared and willing to push through pain
Once you are (1) heard by someone you trust and are (2) given guidance by someone who is credible, you’ll start to take those baby steps. And all these baby steps (a.k.a. your actions for personal growth) will improve your life by making you more resilient.
That’s the key. Because in addition to taking responsibility for improving your life, you need to realize you will still experience sh*tty times. And once you build your resilience, you’ll be a hell of a lot better at bouncing back after those sh*tty times.
So be prepared as well as willing to deal with hardship, because once you are, you’ll be in the best position to take your first big step down the path toward meaning.
Choosing to take responsibility for my life changed my life for the better, so I desperately want you to choose responsibility too.
And as always, Happy Monday.
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional advice.