People in my community have experienced a lot of judgement. There is a common sentiment emerging in popular culture right now; the hardest thing about having a mental illness is everyone expects you to act as if you don’t.
This makes writing about personal responsibility daunting. It is easy to judge people without understanding or empathy. “Shoulding” all over people’s effort with no respect for their experience and story. If you have managed to live life without judgement, I will bring you up to date, when you work your tail off to the point of exhaustion, and everyone around you is telling you you need to do more, it is defeating and frustrating.
I believe that we are all doing what we can. I say that and my inner critic points out example after example of people that I think could do better, but that is the point, I do not get to say how much energy or ability to cope another person has.
Even for myself, doing my best and doing what I can, get muddled in my head. I like to push myself, but I have have challenges with self care and when I can no longer do things at a high intensity I tend to get frustrated and give up. I also get bored very easily and high intensity is fueled by passion, so I will just drop activities once they have lost their shine. After which I would traditionally punish myself with shame and loathing. Probably needless to say, this cycle has lost its appeal.
I am learning that we are responsible to find what builds vitality within us. Only we can tell if what we are doing is effective. Our bodies tell us if the food we eat nurtures us, or if the activities we do energize us or deplete us.
When we look outside for someone to tell us how to nurture and care we are missing opportunities to learn about and for ourselves. If we are over extended we must learn to haul it in, if we are too busy to take care of ourselves, we are the ones who will suffer in the long term.
What is personal responsibility in a world where things seem to be spinning out of control?
The beginning of this journey starts in chaos of the now, deep down inside to the core of our boundaries, values and ethics.
We are responsible for understanding why we do what we do. Do we work because it is our passion? Do we work because our family is our passion and work allows to support them? If we know why we do things we know how to prioritize ourselves.
The world will not change for me. I do not make anyone do anything.
The only way to empower myself in a world that makes me feel powerless is to look for the problems that I can solve. If I notice a problem, I take my responsibility to fix it. If it is not my responsibility it is not my problem.
I believe it is my responsibility to do what I am capable of to create the world I want to live in. Authenticity is built on personal responsibility.