The Responsible One
Responsibility is an interesting topic. I am not sure I think much about the topic of “responsibility” until I experience someone avoiding their responsibility and I am impacted!! I proudly define myself as a responsible person. I hear Mom’s telling their children, “It’s your responsibility”. I hear bosses, teachers and doctors using the same phrase.
So I ask you, if you set aside the obvious (job and family), what ultimately is your responsibility?
I think back to when I was a young. My responsibility was to help out at home and listen to my teachers. As I grew up, my responsibility was to continue with my education and secure a good job. Over the next twenty years, I was responsible for taking care of my family. As I approach another milestone birthday I have started wonder, what happened to the responsibility of taking care of me and my happiness? Was I absent the day they taught introspection and self-care?
Would I feel successful taking care of my family if I didn’t take care of myself simultaneously? Would I thrive in my career if I hadn’t identified my strengths and passions? The answer is NO and this is why many of us come to a screeching halt in midlife. We get lost in the trap of doing what we think we should be doing or lost in the process of completing a goal just to complete it. Do you build a house on a faulty foundation without any future consequences?
Let me restate the question for you.
Question: What are you responsible for?
This is pretty simple yet extremely profound, right? If my happiness includes speaking Greek, jogging in the rain or wearing purple everyday then I have the responsibility to do those things for ME. No one else can make me happy. You have heard it before. Happiness is an inside job.
I hear you doubting me….. Yes, I am happy when my children are happy, BUT, my happiness is not dependent upon my children, or anyone else for that matter but little old me. I am happy when I secure a new client, find great boots on clearance and giggle with the girls but again, my happiness in not dependent on these experiences. My happiness is ENHANCED by these experiences. Enhanced; yes. Dependent; no.
My happiness is a personal interpretation. If I depend on you to tell me what makes me happy or to do things to make me happy then I spend a hell of a lot of time waiting for may not happen. Rather than happiness filling me up, it is more likely I will be dominated by the feelings of impatience and resentment. This gets old really fast. Happiness contingent upon something or someone else is like expecting to win at the blackjack table. The odds are with the dealer and not you. You might win some but you are also going to lose.
My definition of happiness changes…… Today I want to be alone, wear fat pants and cuddle with Bosco while I read a book. Tomorrow I may nominate myself for the Nobel Peace Prize (just kidding—I wanted to see if you are still reading this far down!) Tomorrow I may Salsa dance and wear red lipstick. I am paying attention to what My Girlfriend Voice says—what will make you happy today? And if no one gets hurt in the process, I am going to act on her advice!
There are days when I have to break down the day into hours or even moments and I recommend that you give yourself permission to do so too. Life is fluid. What makes me happy at 9am may not apply at 4pm.
I am responsible for my own happiness.
I can’t give up my job and stop paying bills to be happy. This is my moral responsibility. You can however, begin to examine your choices and start asking yourself this, “Are you your number one priority?” Has my busy day included time for ME? A two minute time out can do wonders for your soul. When times are tough, jotting down five things I am grateful for ushers in contentment. I used the word “assiduous” in a sentence today and that made me really, really happy! These “little things” recalibrate the brain’s positivity index. (I like the way that sounds too!)
It takes practice to consider yourself a priority but you will soon start to reap the rewards of being responsible for your own happiness. This is the best investment you can make for your future. Be assiduous in finding happiness! OMG, I have used that word twice in a sentence today. I am grinning ear to ear. It’s time for an iced coffee and a stroll around the airport before I head back to California.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on happiness! What made you exceedingly happy today?
From the heart,
Art borrowed from LifeLifeHappy.com and BabaMail.com Thank you!