Taking Personal Responsibility

Through all our pain and struggles, I believe it is still important to pursue one of the most basic desires of the human experience: happiness. Is it possible to be happy under overwhelming circumstances? It is possible, but requires that you take personal responsibility for your situation. What this means is that you must accept your current circumstances as they are, and take the same responsible attitude regarding your happiness as you would about any of your other worldly responsibilities. Now this is tough, because it seems somewhat selfish at first glance. You are just as responsible for your own happiness as you are for your family, your job, your physical and mental health. Many of these facets intermingle, but the fact remains that your personal happiness and wellbeing is just as important as everything else.

The IBS problem

You might say, NO, my kids come first… That was me for a very long time. But, without your own happiness and strength, are you giving your kids, your family, your employer, all that you have to offer? You might say, NO, I cannot be ‘happy’ when I feel like this…sick, anxious, depressed. The key thing here is that perhaps you can’t be happy TODAY…and that is perfectly alright. This is an adjustment to your perception of your illness, your life and your own happiness. It takes time. My favorite book is called ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse. There is a quote by the main character that explains what he feels his main strengths in life are. Siddhartha says, ‘I can think, I can wait and I can fast’. The reason I felt compelled to include this quote/idea here is that I think it illustrates a simplicity of thought that can be very beneficial to our own happiness. I also think that it can be applied directly to the IBS problem. ‘We can think’ and make the best decisions we can to work towards our own health and wellbeing. ‘We can wait’ and realize that this is a long term battle with many variable that will not be solved overnight. ‘We can fast’, we have had to give up so many of the foods, drinks and lifestyle behaviors that once made us ‘happy’ in order to treat our IBS. We have now come full circle to the idea of responsibility for our happiness. We are all trying to do this in a way, but when you actually count it among the important responsibilities in your life, you may find your actions becoming more effective.

Don't forget about you

I know that one of the obstacles that I have faced in my search for true happiness is my inability to believe that I matter enough to spend the time and energy on this quest. We become so involved trying to make sure everyone around us is happy, that we forget about ourselves. This is not selfishness; it is necessary. We do matter. Once we learn to accept this idea, we will find our pain relieved, perhaps not removed, but relieved. Why? Because if we have acquired a certain happiness and peace of mind, we are much more equipped to address all of life’s struggles in the most positive manner we can. I think that things will generally work out better with a positive attitude than with a negative outlook. Do you disagree ;)?

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