Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you. Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things. You always get to choose the metric by which to measure your experiences.
– Mark Manson, Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
I really hate Mark Manson.
I don’t hate him in the way that you hate your neighbor who mows their yard twice a week and you noticed that grass stopped coming out weeks ago. It’s more like an exercise in their anxiety and your patience than mowing but you get used to this kind of hatred.
I don’t hate him in the way that you hate yourself after a one-night stand and stumble home smelling of booze and disappointing ruminations like “What the hell was I thinking” playing in your head.
No, it’s not that kind of hate.
I hate him like any teenager who has had a parent or wise adult in their lives say, “Kid, you really don’t know a damn thing.”
I really don’t know a damn thing.
It’s probably why I struggle to blog, week after week because I always feel like my blog must be something meaningful, special, or different. Well, this week, it’s going to be none of those just me bearing my soul and inviting you to bear yours, too.
I’m responsible for my happiness and (spoiler alert) you are too!
Manson writes in his book,” Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you. Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things.”
Basically, to me, this is saying that bad things happen to all of us. Some worse than others, of course, but no matter where you live, what you do, or how much money is in your bank account, none of us can escape some of the awful things that life throws at us.
But the hope in this realization is that we all have the power to do something with this less than perfect moments and experiences in our lives.
We all have a choice to do something with what’s been done to us.
Many choose to remain a victim, blame everyone, and demand that the world pay some form of penance for the wrongdoings and terrible things that have happened to us. If the world ever pays, please call me and teach me your ways, because, for me, bitterness, resentment, and anger towards the world has only taken from me and has never returned what I lost.
For others, they accept terrible things happen and choose to do something with the hand they’ve been dealt. This is the road I took recently when I called a friend to tell him I was depressed. It was my first depressive episode in a long time and the storm is just now starting to pass.
I had to reach out to a friend just to keep my sanity.
I had to break the isolation just to remind myself that I am never truly alone in my suffering unless I choose to be.
I had to make a call instead of giving into the darkness and shame that comes with a depressive episode.
What do you need to take responsibility for in your life at this moment? Do you have a call to make? Do you need to make a doctor’s appointment, consider going on medication, coming off medication, making amends with that person whom harmed you deeply or whom you harmed deeply, do you need to clean up your diet and lay off the junk to help regulate your mood, stop the drinking, smoking, etc.—what do you need to do in your life RIGHT NOW to take responsibility for your happiness?
Taking responsibility for my happiness has taken the following forms, recently:
- I practice gratitude more often and include some things I’m proud of myself for on this list. This special list is a list just for me and not others because it’s my chance to be proud of myself and to let that be enough.
- I deleted my Facebook account entirely. It seems extreme to some, but I’ve seen a huge payoff. I found myself comparing, obsessing, worried and anxious over the opinions of others, etc.
- I changed my name on Instagram to bipolarphotoguy (feel free to add me). It seems like something trivial but, for me, owning that I have a mental illness has made me feel stronger about it. Sure, I think I’ll always worry that some people will judge me for it, but if they do, as Mark Manson says “give f*cks about things that matter” and judgmental people do not matter to me. I want to worry about those who want to be in relationship with me, not those who don’t.
- I got put on a waiting list to a see a psychiatrist. I’ve not been on medicine for about 8 or 9 months now and have seen great changes in my body (positive ones), however, some decline in some areas with my mind so it’s worth consulting a doctor. It’s a hard call because I feel as if I was overmedicated in the past, but it’s a conversation worth having. I can’t expect others to seek help if I don’t lead the way.
- Lastly, I have been trying to clean my diet up, more and more. I’ve felt insecure about my weight and body for a long time. I’m nowhere close to where I want to be but I’ve been making small changes and substitutions while exercising most days of the week (even if just going on a walk) to help my body help itself. It’s making all the difference—one step and pound, at a time. I’m down 50, by the way.
So, dear reader, what are you doing, going to do, or need to do take responsibility for your happiness, regardless of how you got in the situation you find yourself in?
You may not be at fault, but you’re still responsible for this moment because nobody else is going to do it for you—trust me, I tried and waited—nobody came.
I leave you with the wise words of Sigmund Freud (quoted by Manson) as a hopeful wish for you, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
Struggling to find beauty in the madness,
Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 99). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.