Dr. Michael Arloski, the originator of the Ten Tenets of Wellness was, in a way, ahead of his time with the Sixth Tenet: You Are Responsible. It’s true that genetics and environment play a big role in our wellbeing but ultimately, for most of us, our health is under our control through the choices we make every day.
Taking responsibility for your life, including your health, is not a new idea. Everyone from the ancient Stoics, to the Dalai Lama to Tony Robbins, advocates the concept that everything in our lives is, in some way, the product of our own decisions. Your health and wellness is no exception. In 1994, when the Ten Tenets were first published, no one had an inkling that our daily choices, which play such a big part in our health, could actually be affecting our DNA!
Up until just a few years ago, everyone believed the genes you received from your parents at birth were a done deal. In other words, you were stuck with what you’ve got. But now scientists are doing a double take. There’s even a whole new name to describe the study of how external factors can actually affect your genetic programming, the field of epigenetics. Turns out that your genes just don’t work blindly, but need instructions to carry out their programming. These instructions come, in part, from external factors such as your nutrition choices, the quality of your sleep, exercise and other factors which all affect your genes and can work to switch them on or off.
The knowledge that our lifestyle choices can influence and even override our genetics brings the concept of self-responsibility to a whole new level.
I’ve occasionally heard stories of individuals who decide someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer are somehow at fault because the person has been ‘stuffing their feelings’ or didn’t follow a vegan diet, etc. (This actually happened to my mother when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer – it was not helpful!) That’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m referring to is just wanting you to become highly aware that your daily choices, even though they may seem totally insignificant at the time, add up over time to profoundly affect your health and wellness.
That doesn’t you have to police yourself rigidly and never indulge in dessert or miss a day of exercise. It does mean understanding and accepting responsibility for those choices, and their effect on your overall wellbeing over time.
Many things in this complicated world are out of our control. We always, however, have control over ourselves – our thoughts and our actions. At the end of the day, adopting a wellness lifestyle is a choice we can make that has immediate and long-term benefits!
Here are some of my favorite quotes about self-responsibility. I hope they inspire you to embrace the Sixth Tenet:
“In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are our own responsibility.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“You may believe you are responsible for what you do but not for what you think.The truth is you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.” ~ Marianne Williamson
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself.” ~ Jim Rohn
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~ Joan Didion
“Whatever happens, take responsibility.” ~ Tony Robbins
Enjoy this beautiful autumn!