mental health

Guest Blog: Personal Responsibility, Health and the Environment

Today’s blog post was written by a community member who wanted to express something that was on his mind. He goes by the name of Liet Kines. Yes, Slay Girl Society can be for men too! If you ever want to share your story or your thoughts or opinions, let me know!

Today I wish to deal with a subject that is very close to my heart and has caused a great personal transformation within me. I hope to do so in a clear manner so that you don’t misinterpret what I mean. To help illustrate my points I use personal stories in separate sections to hopefully clarify the point I’m trying to make.

Have you ever been in an environment where you felt out of control? Perhaps it was a situation where you felt helpless or maybe you feel like you cannot escape. A lot of people feel trapped in some way or another, wither it be by social norms, or economic status or perhaps by some event that affected us in the past. I feel like everyone is struggling with something. Please keep that story fresh in your mind as you read the next section.

This summer I went on a wild adventure, I struck out for the end of the world to be an inspector on fishing boats. Needless to say I was nervous and anxious. It took the better part of the summer for me to find myself comfortable on the boats, for one I tend to be introverted and communicate much better in writing and two being the huge social gaps between an old fisherman and a city boy. A big issue for me is that I like to have social rules set before a social situation so I know how to act.
Fishermen are more and more concerned for the environment (as a group, some individuals are just special…). This was a topic I felt very comfortable with and would often use it as an ice breaker. What do you think the most common comment they had was? Believe it or not they would all say, without fail, that the rich were destroying the environment. Many would also blame the DFO or perhaps an aluminum plant upstream. Some blamed Natives and some blamed Jews. Don’t you find it odd that the main resource extractors believe it is someone else responsible? I’m sure you have all heard similar arguments before about a variety of subjects. It would be like a forestry company blaming someone else for deforestation. Even the comment about the rich destroying the environment gave me pause, fishing boats are not cheap. Most fishing boats have complex hydraulics with multiple sets of controls. Most fair sized boats have fridges and stoves, generators, showers and sleeping quarters. I’m talking about million dollar vessels. I asked fishermen working with all kinds of fishing gear, including drags and trawls what they thought and it was always someone else to blame, the laws, the quotas, the industrial ships, whatever. I think that this demonstrates something we all feel, powerless to change our situations.

Just like your personal story we are all trapped by our own beliefs. When it comes to things like climate change and war and the environment it can be so overwhelming that most people shut it out and refuse to think about it. In your face is kinda my style anyways.

I once lived with a couple who could not keep their house clean, there was a year’s worth of undone laundry and a yard that needed maintenance. They blamed their kids, or alcohol and a few other things. Honestly I felt they watched too much tv and video games. Living with them began to stress me greatly. I couldn’t live with their mess. One day I got in trouble for doing some of their dishes where I felt I needed the counter space to cook. It took me months to figure it out. At first I lived in their mess, it wasn’t my fault it was theirs. I couldn’t change it. Then one day I couldn’t stand it and I cleaned a bathroom. Then I did some laundry. Suddenly I was empowered. Within the week I had cleaned the kitchen, both bathrooms and the basement. The change was staggering. The family began to spend time in the basement (where I lived), because somehow it was more comfortable, the dishes started to get done and someone even shoveled the driveway.
Since then I’ve been through some tough times, and we often forget the lessons we learn. The first and most important thing is that you are empowered. You are in control. You are in control of you if nothing else. The moment you stop blaming the past, and other people for the things that bother you and your mood you begin to control it. Making your day a good day is no one’s responsibility but yours. The moment you become responsible for your state of mind is the moment when you will start to see the changes you create in the world around you.

More importantly to achieve this however is accepting where you are. You have to accept yourself for who you are and where you are in life to take control. You can’t blame yourself for not taking more action against climate change or Gaza or the US elections or whatever. You need to accept that you do what you do now and if it bothers you take the steps needed to make changes. Work in fast food? Why is that so bad? Accept that you do what you do and suddenly the social stigma’s start to fall away. Still unsatisfied? Make that change you keep putting off, go for a jog, change your diet, get involved with PETA go volunteer in India or whatever it is you were always meant to do!

Kinnengart wrote that Anxiety is when we have a choice to make and fail to make it. Anxiety brings us to despair. To fight anxiety then is to take action, make that choice and stick to it. Believe it. The key to stress and anxiety relief is therefore action. Take action!
I don’t mean to sound preachy above as we all have things we would like to better about ourselves. Personally over the years I have changed my diet to better fit my beliefs, I have changed my consumer habits to better fit my beliefs and you know what… I’m still not where I want to be, but I am going the right way. However only in the past few weeks have I taken it upon myself to be in control of my day and the social situations that are awkward or frightening, The trick is to always be growing in the right direction for you. It’s a super power, it’s the secret. I know that each and every one of you have this power too. Empower yourself, tell yourself every day that the day will be a good one and when someone asks how your day is, proudly proclaim that your day is great! Suddenly you might just find that your days are just a little brighter.

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