When I was younger, I was crippled by the uncertainty of the world. I grew up fearful and anxious. I didn't find comfort for my worries until I began to understand that although the world is uncertain, things aren't as accidental as they may seem. Whenever I start to pay enough attention, I find there is usually a trigger that leads to most of the unpredictable things that worry me.

I feel hopeful to know that there are triggers because the existence of a trigger means the decision to pull the trigger or to leave it alone. It means that there are ways that these 'bad' things could be prevented. This isn't to say that all 'bad' things are preventable. Many things are still outside of our control but to gain even a glimpse of control, no matter how minimal, is enough to comfort me. Sometimes, it surprises me that despite my immense anxiety, it doesn't take much reassurances to calm me. This understanding is an invitation, or a challenge, for me to start taking responsibility for my life.

Take Responsibility.

The word responsibility has a heavy connotation. However, like the anchor that weighs us down, the anchor also lends stability to the otherwise rocky self.

Once we take responsibility for our life, it liberates us from a lot of the 'ideals' we place on other people that almost always never happens because it’s completely beyond our control. I think we are prone to doing this and it accounts for 99% of our misery and unhappiness. Taking responsibility is what allows people to act in accordance with their values, despite those values not being recognized or normalized yet by society or the world at large.

“Why should I care, when no one else does?”. This type of thinking displaces our own responsibility onto other people. If something feels right or wrong to us, we should have the courage to act in accordance with our belief instead of shifting it to other people to take charge only to be let down because it is not their value, or they are also victim to this shifting of responsibility mindset. This mindset gets us nowhere, leaves us disempowered and traps us in a vicious cycle of blame.

Things definitely aren’t black or white. There are a lot of nuances in such concepts. There is definitely a limit to how much responsibility we can take. External factors like systemic injustices that perpetuate cycles of inequality are some of the biggest obstacles and deserve to be acknowledged.

However, we must recognize that the daily excuses we make for ourselves may be more situated within our own control rather than outside of our own control. The exercise then becomes a matter of honestly asking yourself “is this something within my own control or outside of my own control". This demands careful assessment of ourselves because we have the capability for self-deception where we lie to ourselves to keep our psyche happy in the short-term and nowhere near fulfilled. At any cost, whether it lies within our control or outside of it, we must strive to do the best that we can.

Do The Best You Can
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”-Maya AngelouBeing a consumer is no easy feat, with all the many choices available on the market. Do we choose heels or sneakers, neutral or colourful, soy milk or almond milk? ✔️It gets even

You are responsible for your life and your life only.
You are not responsible for anyone else's life or the world.

This line of thinking implies that we must not try to intervene the life of anybody else. As I have the natural tendencies to take the role of the caregiver, I have found this line of thinking difficult to act on because when I see 'errors', I just want to 'help'. Granted, this thinking does liberate me from a lot of the “impossible” responsibilities that I thrust upon myself—to fix the world and other people; remembering that it’s not my job allows me to save my peace.

I think the confusion stems from there being a fine line between taking responsibility for other people vs educating other people i.e sharing our stories, our understanding and resources in the hopes that our personal discovery can be of value to others. And then it's on them from there. Perhaps this is what people mean when they say 'you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink'.

A reciprocal relationship.

This all sounds like a lot and the first question we all ask ourselves is where to start taking responsibility? Because they are all interconnected, I like to view them as having a reciprocal relationship where—wherever you choose to start or to place your focus on; it will have a positive butterfly effect on the other factors. The same goes that we cannot neglect one factor without it affecting the other factors.

But if i must give a direction, I would say start by focusing on yourself. For me, I started by focusing on these 3 things:

Hierarchy of needs.

It's an especially stressful time now more than ever. I feel like most of us are running on very very low fuel and it's critical that we take care of ourselves; especially our body and our mind before we can build ourselves up to take on the bigger challenges of the world.

The hierarchy of needs is very relevant. I have observed that when I am running low on my basic needs, I really couldn't care less of what's up the higher ladders. It's just not my priority when I'm trying to keep myself afloat. This is why I try to prioritize my health (my body and my mind) and make sure they are in good order so that I can move up the ladders to what I find to be truly fulfilling.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Sometimes, just by working on ourselves, we may find that it's enough and that's okay. However, from my observation, that is rarely the case. What I observe to be true is: when we work on ourselves, we end up expanding on what we understand to be the limit of our potential. We begin to have the courage to aim higher and higher, to widen the horizons to reveal the true extent of the human potential.

When we start to see no limit to what we can achieve, life can be pretty incredible.

With all this being said, we shouldn't be worried of the possibility of our effort not paying off. Because even if it doesn't, there is nothing to lose; when the alternative is aimlessness or self-destruction. This is why we must work on ourselves.