‘My Health My responsibility’

This is my adjusted version of a culture statement in and of my church: ‘My Heart My Responsibility.’ In taking ownership of our responsibility in this, we seek to keep our hearts right and free from its potential (emotional) entanglements with offence, judgement, criticism, etc. Likewise ‘My Health My Responsibility reminds me that I’m accountable for what I do and don’t do for my health, so as to seek to keep me free from the entanglement of disease, and my resulting health journey.

As an Essential Oils Advocate, I have to be diligent in reminding myself of where the boundary lines are in my responsibility to my clients on their health journey. Because ultimately: Their Health IS Their Responsibility.’ Over the past week or so I’ve been reflecting on this increasingly so.

As a nurse in the operating theatre, I’m reminded of a situation some months back: the current case on the operating table had been much more complicated than expected, putting us in to overtime, and so we had to cancel the last patient of the afternoon. It normally wouldn’t be an issue to continue on, except on this day when the surgeon had an important family celebration dinner to attend.

After being informed by the surgeon of their cancellation, I became the liaison person between the patient, their family member and the surgeon. I was understanding of each perspective, while trying to comfort and calm the patient and family member as they pursued their desire for the surgery to go ahead.

I observed a surgeon who held tight to his boundary (going out of his way to offer what I believe to be suitable alternatives), and a patient and family member who believed the surgeon’s boundary was inappropriate, unreasonable, and inconsiderate of what they wanted here and now.

They tried from every angle, through every avenue, anyone who would listen, to change the surgeon’s decision, but the surgeon (respectfully so) maintained his boundary. I think the key point of learning here (for me) was to see and hear ‘Boundary Busters’ in action:

Convinced that they are entitled to what they want,
Derogatory about his decision for his want.
Stating that they should be his priority,
Over that of celebrating with his family.

It was very interesting to watch the battle over the boundary line. And while most people may not be as forthright in actually saying so, I wonder how much is still thought so. The silent Boundary Buster: the silent expectation that because we want or need something, we should be able to have it, and our attitude in that and about that, as we seek or pursue to have it.

As a person with my own health issues, I’m challenged to consider if I’m taking enough responsibility for my own health:

  • Am I eating right, regularly doing my stretches, and even in prioritising myself over my clients? It’s easy to get caught up in research to make oil blends for clients, excited about the possibility of helping someone on their health journey, and yet never getting around to making my own.
  • Am I expecting more of my practitioner than I am of myself? Yes, my practitioner has the knowledge and the know-how, but the question is still: am I expecting him/her to do more for me, than the effort I am prepared to do for myself?
  • Am I expecting a miracle cure, a miracle healing, because that’s easier (for me) than to put in the required effort for my desired result?

I’m especially challenged in the areas that have gone on (and on and on) for so long now, that my consistency in doing ‘what I can do for me’ sometimes waivers from weariness. Some days, I wish I could hand it over to someone else to sort out for me. But it doesnt work like that. It’s not their responsibility to take that on. Healing takes time . . . sometimes longer than we think, or ever thought it could or would or should ever take. But even then, I’m still responsible for the choices I make along the way, for however long it takes for my health to be what I hope for.

Without wanting to sound judgemental it is my experience, to have heard it said so many times by patients I’m preparing for heart bypass surgery: “Doc you’ll fix me right up won’t you?” They seek the assurance of a solution from their surgeon, yet they admit to not having done what they could do for themselves as directed to do in: changing their diet, starting an exercise regime, or giving up smoking. They don’t see that they are (through their choices) part of the solution, in the same way that they were part of the initial problem. And so as a result their unchanging choices will continue to complicate (and even advance) their issue.

The best result comes through my taking ownership of responsibility for my health. Be it (in my case) mental health, skeletal issues, or dietary triggers, when I don’t do all that I know I can do for me, then if my condition continues to deteriorate, or even just remains stagnant in its recovery, I must first look at my own choices to see if they have impacted that.

Otherwise I am no different to the patient having heart bypass surgery, that in the near future has to return for further surgery because their lifestyle choices continue to produce the same life threatening condition.

In every area of life for the sake of our overall health, holistic health, I believe we need to regularly ask ourselves three questions:

  • Is there something I need to change?
  • Is there something I need to start?
  • Is there something (or even someone) I need to give up?

Because when all is said and done, whether I want to be or not, I am responsible for my health, and my choices will (and do) determine that. And so to use another culture statement in and of my church:

Do Something!
For (and not against) your health!

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