Life is hard. This is true for everyone. No matter who you are, you will face challenges in this life, and if you don’t, the lack of challenges may very well shape you into the kind of person others do not want to be.
It does not matter if you are rich.
It does not matter if you are poor.
Man or Woman.
As long as you are human, you will face hardship, unfairness, oppression, violence, pain, suffering, despair.
Responsibility hasn’t been talked about as a good thing properly in almost 50 years, but responsibility is a Very. Good. Thing.
And of course it is! Because the alternative is to be a powerless victim, doomed to wait for others to dictate your future be it good or bad. I’ll wager that it will be bad.
You see, taking responsibility for your life is not about life being fair. It is about what you will do about it.
At the end of the day, everyone is fighting something. Many of the rich are handling levels of stress and complexity that can and do cause severe mental breakdown. For example, in 2017, middle-aged white males made up the largest suicide demographic, despite that they are often the most socioeconomically privileged.
Citizens of the united states are exposed to more pollutants and environmental health factors than many parts of the under-developed world, and we have the second highest rates of obesity.
Everyone suffers. Everyone is oppressed. The answer is not to see oneself as a victim.
You are not a victim.
In the objective sense, sure, you are, but in the objective sense, everyone is.
The reason that you are not a victim, no matter how terrible your experience, is because as a victim you cannot grow.
As a victim, you are stuck, permanently doomed to be powerless and broken. You are waiting to be saved and have sacrificed your agency.
And your friends who tell you that you are a victim are not serving you any better! There are injustices, but do you know what a victim does in the face of injustice? Cower! They take it! It’s terrible!
To fight back against injustice requires that you unlatch the title of victim from your shoulders and instead take on the mantle of something much more powerful: The Hero.
There is a reason we like hero stories, it is because we see them in ourselves. We may be watching the knight face off against an evil dragon on our television screens, but the reason it calls to us is because we have all faced the dragon that is life in some form or another.
We must take responsibility over our lives in order to face the dragons. We must leave our parent’s homes, risking life and limb to enter into the world of chaos, where by a mix of blood and sweat, luck and skill, we might create new order.
If we sit in our homes lamenting the world for being unfair, all that will happen to us is that we will rot away until we die. There is no shortage of oppressors, and if you use oppression as your excuse not to take responsibility, you are doomed.
Even if you, or someone else since you the victim are so powerless, solves every social injustice on the board, there is always cancer. There is always aneurism, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental health issues, schizophrenia, and every manner of unfair problem that has nothing to do with societal oppression.
There will always be a full and well written list of good reasons to sit at home and blame the world.
Look. Here’s the thing. Taking responsibility for your life gives you power to change your life. It isn’t necessarily a lot of power, and life can still very easily go wrong, but the alternative is to have no power, and be swept along whatever path the winds of change take you.
Own up to your life. Have a sense of purpose. Determine to face the dragons that are hardship, and to do so willingly. It won’t be easy, but it will be fulfilling, and as Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in his famous text: Man’s Search for Meaning, “It is purpose, not happiness, that allows us to go on.”
As an aside, none of this is to say hardships do not exist or that there are not people who are consciously and unfairly oppressed in ways we must change. Many people use the word responsibility to ignore the severity of the problems of others, and that is not what this article is about.
No, on the contrary, this is about being just as aware as anyone. See the hardship of the world clearly, and help to remove hardship from the world where you can, but when it comes to yourself, take life on voluntarily and directly despite your hardships.