If you’re like most people, you’re probably waiting for someone or something to miraculously intervene to save you from the mediocrity and despair of your life. In many ways, we’re actually conditioned to believe in the naivety of this supposition. The truth, however, is that no one is coming to save you, at least not as it relates to saving you from yourself. And this may be one of life’s hardest lessons: you are ultimately responsible for the quality of your life. No can do the work for you. No one can say your prayers, start your business, receive your education, exercise your compassion, strengthen your muscles, develop your relationships, or diet for you. So you’re either going to continue doing what’s you’ve always done (and get what you’ve always gotten), or you’re going to do things differently. The choice, whether you like it or not, is entirely yours.
Of course, we get some personal satisfaction in blaming the negative aspects of our lives on others. But whatever satisfaction we derive from it it is always short lived. In the end, we’re still miserable. You’re still you and I’m still me. The only way to change is to put the onus of responsibility right where it belongs: square on our shoulders. At first, it’s uncomfortable, but only because we’ve yet to develop the necessary habit of consistently doing responsible things. But if we keep at it, eventually, we become responsible.
And yes, it is wholly irresponsible to rationalize away our lives. To say no one cares might be slightly inaccurate, but only slightly. Regardless of what is happening in your life, time is still unmercifully passing. People are still living. And they’ll continue to carry on with their lives regardless of what’s happening in yours. Have a bad day and then walk outside to see how many people stop to notice. Have a bad life and you’re guaranteed to find yourself alone. That’s because life is specifically designed to work only for those individuals who are willing to work. For everyone else, it just doesn’t. And that’s hard, but it’s also life.
So start small. Don’t try and eat the elephant whole. Begin disciplining yourself in small ways. Begin assuming more and more responsibility over your life until you’re response-able.
Be patient with yourself, but never stop applying pressure. You’re going to get knocked down; sometimes even knocked out. But when you regain your senses, pick yourself back up and keep going. You’ll figure it out eventually, but only if you’re unwilling to ever give up. If you refuse to walk through the refiner’s fire, you’ll remain unrefined. And there’s no legacy in that.