Responsibility, Gambling and Pain

Want to place a bet?

Gamblers place bets to win money. Everyone can bet to win good health. The health bet has two parts:

1. accept personal responsibility when practical, and

2. use pain as a guide.

One school of thought that says each person is fully responsible for his/her own illnesses. An opposing school of thought says that illness just happens randomly, and that a sick person bears no responsibility.

In parallel, some people see pain as something to avoid at all costs. Others use pain as a guide to improve health. Of course, these are extreme positions and real-life choices are somewhere in the middle.

First, consider responsibility. Genetic factors and unknown exposures to carcinogens are largely beyond our control. Weight control and smoking are mostly within our control. Some contributing factors are ambiguous. So, what is the best gamble?

The best bet is accepting responsibility whenever possible. The reason is that a higher level of responsibility provides more opportunity to define and fix health issues. In contrast, avoiding responsibility leans toward being a victim. A victim has little self-agency. The bottom line is this: by participating in your health, there is no guarantee of success. But that’s a lot better than a guarantee of no success.

A responsible attitude doesn’t mean forcing a healing or setting unrealistic goals. It means being willing to learn more about your body, habits and movements. Simultaneously, you may be getting massages, trying Yoga, visiting an acupuncturist or investigating dietary supplements. It’s all good.

Second, consider pain. Let’s agree that nobody likes it. But pain is also a messenger. Pain tells us that something is wrong and helps us locate the source. In that view, pain is a friend. When following pain, a principle to remember is: the symptom and source are seldom at the same location. For example, if your knees hurt, how do you balance over the feet? Or, do you walk through your pelvis or around it? Knees are affected by both. With a willingness to learn, non-obvious connections come into focus. Then the source of pain can be removed, and that bottle of pain killer isn’t needed.

This blog series contains specific visualizations, movements, and ways of being in your body. Try them and ask, “do they reduce my pain”? If they do, you’re on something useful. Experiment with different variations and keep the ones that work. After conquering the pain, continue and see how good you were meant feel.

Personal responsibility plus following pain encourage investigation into new territory, where healing connections are uncovered. The use of “uncovered” over “discovered” is intentional. The connection is already there. The goal is to define it and correct it.

Place your bet.