Dear Self: Reminders for Life (You are Responsible…)

You are Responsible For

I Am Responsible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are Responsible for…

Dear Self:

I know that there are a bunch of things on your ‘do not want to do’ list that really need to be done. I hate to break it to you, but some of those things simply can’t be delegated to someone else. You are responsible for them, whether you’re depressed, or tired, or sick, or simply don’t want to. But don’t worry. You have the strength you need to get them done.

You are responsible for taking care of the body you were given, getting exercise regularly, eating healthy foods (not too much, mostly plants, as Michael Pollan says), getting enough sleep, and other body maintenance tasks.

You are responsible for care of the space you inhabit. You are also responsible for negotiating the amount of care that each person that shares that space with you is responsible for in such a way as the work is done and each person shares some of the responsibility to the best of his or her ability in agreement with others.

You are responsible for your own actions, for recognizing your emotions before they reach the stage that they control you, and dealing with them effectively in such a way that they do not harm you nor other people.

You are responsible for the relationships you have with other people, with saying ‘no’ when it is the right thing to do, saying ‘yes’ when it is, and holding firm to those boundaries.

You are responsible for your own education, for seeking out knowledge that enriches your life, enables you to do the productive work you are capable of, and helps you be an engaged member of your community.

You are responsible for participating in the life of your community, both your local community and your state and national political communities, to the extent that there is time and energy in your life to do so.

You are responsible for accepting the consequences of your actions and any failures to take action, and seeking change to improve your life where you are able to.

You are responsible for accepting that there are many things in life that you have little or no control over, most notably nature, other people and systems built by other people, and building space in your life for the wisdom that accrues from letting go of the need for control where there is no possibility for control.

You are responsible for what you have control over, and for nothing else. You are responsible for knowing the difference, and you are responsible for building a satisfying life with what you are provided and what you are able to build from that foundation.

When you are overwhelmed, or tired, or confused, step back and review your responsibilities. Are you taking on more than you are able to handle? Are you taking on too little? Are you caring for your body’s and mind’s maintenance? Are you participating in a social life that builds obligations more than rewards (or the other way around) or is your social life in balance? Are you saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ too often? Are there people in your life that need to be brought closer or pushed further away? Do you need to seek help?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is your responsibility to be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can, at all times, in all situations. You are making your way, just like everyone is, in a world with so many blind alleys and pitfalls that even the strongest often lose our way. Self-compassion will help you find your way through those blind alleys and pitfalls much more effectively than self condemnation. Give it a try. You’ll see.

Love,

Me.

 

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About Maureen O'Danu

Maureen O'Danu is the webmistress of Am I the Only One Dancing? where there is a new discussion every day on any one of dozens of topics and ideas, as well as reviews, geekery, family, fun, and enough politics to season the pot.
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