This Simple (not easy) Practice is about understanding how meeting our responsibilities is an opportunity for wellness rather than something to complain about.
As much as we might complain, we all need the grind of responsibility to remain healthy, humble, happy, and purposeful. Shouldering responsibility helps us develop personal discipline, courage, and resilience, so it’s actually good for us and essential for wellness.
Once most people get to the top or finish line, reach their goal of whatever endeavor or whatever problem they’re struggling to solve, they usually need another aim––more responsibility–– to keep them thriving. Often, people can feel lost after a graduation, winning a big race, or when they finish a career and enter retirement. Anxiety and depression can happen once the symbolic or actual mountain is summited.
So, why is it so common that people don’t know what to do with themselves or have an identity crisis at the summit? Because taking on responsibility, and facing and overcoming obstacles defines our lives as human beings. A comfort zone is only comfortable for so long before it begins to weaken us, and a life of only pleasure is not necessarily a healthy life. Do you want to be happy and fully alive only when life is pleasing and easy or all the time?
The obstacles and challenges that come along with responsibility are an expected part and parcel of the fulfillment and meaning of the journey! Engaging in this process of shouldering a load or trudging uphill is how we can get and stay strong to thrive both on the inner landscapes of our lives as well as the outer.
So, instead of dreading responsibility, avoiding the challenges that come with it, or expecting your days to be easy, practice looking at your responsibilities as opportunities, and be grateful, humble, and happy for the next mountain to climb— for the journey will keep you continually growing and feeling alive and well.
And today, try the simple (not easy) practice of changing your language from “I have to” to “I get to take on X challenge or chore,” and enjoy seeing how what you might have habitually considered dreaded tasks, to-dos, or burdens magically transform into opportunities for improved wellness, happiness, and vitality!
I get to walk my dog (uphill) in the freezing cold of New England, a daily responsibility that keeps us both fit and vital!