President Obama stirred up some strong controversy last Friday when he stated in one of his speeches, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
While the politics of that statement have occupied a great deal of the airwaves over the past few days, I have a different take on this controversy. What about your health? Who is responsible for your health or the lack thereof?
What about this: “If you’re healthy, you didn’t do that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Do you really believe that’s true? Who do you want to blame if you’re NOT healthy? And how far are you going to go? What else are you not responsible for?
We human beings are needy. It seems like we are always leaking and in need of getting filled up.
Our bodies need water, food, air, exercise, and rest. Disrupt the regular availability of any of these, and you won’t survive very long!
Our minds need stimulation, entertainment, perspective, feedback, humor, and rest. Mess with any of these for very long, and your mind will lose its resilience.
Our souls need communication, intimacy, encouragement, challenge, hope, meaning, depth, joy, and love. And when we don’t experience these, we go looking.
And it’s in the LOOKING that we can get into trouble.
Twelve-step programs have a phrase that illustrates this: Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. HALT – when these needs are not met, you’re in danger! Your thinking gets cloudy, and you can easily reach for an unhealthy addiction.
If you are ever going to be healthy, you will need to learn to forgive.
Holding on to wrongs done to you will eat away at your soul, and eventually your body and mind.
We have heard about forgiveness from preachers, and well we should. But I believe we need to hear more about forgiveness from doctors. We are finding increasing evidence that unforgiveness may lead to high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, anxiety/insomnia, pain syndromes, and perhaps immune system disorders and some cancers.
Have you ever met an older person who is bitter and unhappy, with a shriveled-up body and soul? Don’t let that happen to you!
We know, for example, that even a relatively small degree of hope can lessen physical pain through the release of endorphins and enkephalins – natural brain substances that block pain and cause a sense of well-being.
We all have heard about the ability of some people to remain hopeful in the face of extreme difficulties. It may be a cancer patient who survives against the odds. Or a military veteran who creates a life while struggling with enormous mental or physical challenges.
And we know others who collapse under the weight of the struggle. Some cancer patients give up. Some veterans develop addictions or mental illness after their trauma.