No one is here to save you, not even God or His son. This might sound like blasphemy to my Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters, or to anyone believing in a deity. Yet, it doesn’t matter that much. We all have our own beliefs and frankly, they are tailored to everyone. The one thing we should all agree on is that we don’t need to agree on everything. How about that?
After almost 4 decades on this earth, I came to a startling realization: in this life, no one will save you. The only person that can save you is yourself. So, you will save yourself or you will not. I truly hope it will be the former because the alternative sounds quite dark and hopeless.
Please allow me to define, as best as I can, the “saving yourself” part. I am aware clarification is often needed and this time is no exception. “Saving yourself” is a formula most people use to simply mean “getting better”, “improving”, “getting out of trouble” and sometimes, “getting out of the darkness and stepping into the light”, which is very poetic. In Christian circles, the only circles I know, it is usually about accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior. Let’s just say that “saving yourself” is a path of enlightenment described in religious circles. It is a path most believers dream embarking upon, but few ever do. We all want to walk the path of enlightenment, yet few of us do. Go figure!
I am a big proponent and defender of personal responsibility, which somehow, makes me a republican in the US! Go figure! The existential question I have always asked myself was “Who else is responsible for me?”. Well, the answer is: I am! You are responsible for yourself!! If you are an adult person, arbitrarily over 18 years of age, you are responsible for yourself, even in the eyes of the law, in most countries. You will save yourself, or you will not. You are responsible for your behavior, no one else is.
Please understand, unless there are exigent and extraordinary circumstances, you are responsible for your own salvation. Yes, death, disease, war, famine, recessions, pandemics are a few of those extraordinary circumstances on which we hold no power. They happen and we must adapt. Some would say in adversity is when the true character of a person comes out. Hard to argue with that.
So, if we eliminate those exigent circumstances, I would like to reiterate my premise: you are responsible for your well being, your mental health, your physical health, your actions, your deeds, your words, your path. Once again, I am not talking about the salvation of the soul necessarily, or metaphysics or any other concept that deals with the abstract of things. I am talking about your life, your improvement, your choices. Yes, people and circumstances will mess with your life. However, in the end, you will have to act or not. There will always be one person responsible for your choices: YOU.
To avoid any egocentric tendencies in this text, I would like to point I am not dismissing others and their contribution to your improvement. If you are fortunate enough, as I have been all my life, the people around you will help you. They will encourage you, motivate you, inspire you, call you on your shit, give you some tough love, etc. If you don’t have such an important support system around you, then your path towards improvement will be harder. Whether we like it or not, the people around us can make things easier or harder. The people around us help us, but they don’t save us. They can help us towards our path of improvement, but they cannot and will not do the work for us.
Let me give you an example, let’s be practical: Let’s say you have anger issues. Let’s say you cannot keep your cool for a minute because most things irritate you. Aside from that being a ridiculous problem to have, I truly wonder who can fix those issues! I sincerely wonder!! Well, let’s cut the suspense: it is you who can fix that issue, no one else. You can get help but ultimately you are the one who will have to keep your cool. If you want to lose weight, you think prayer is going to do it? Or maybe exercise and healthy diet will do it? Just sayin…If you want to get a degree or a job, prayer might help, sending positive vibes out in the universe will probably help but if you don’t go to school and if you don’t apply to jobs and do interviews, chances are nothing will happen. See where I am going with this?
I am advocating to rely on yourself to do the work to improve yourself or to save yourself if you will. I am not saying “don’t pray”. By all means, pray all goddamn day, yet don’t forget to act. I am not saying “don’t ask for help”. I am saying do all you possibly can before asking for help, rely on yourself first and try not to be too proud to ask for help (I am still working on that because I suck at asking for help). I am not saying “dismiss others”. I am saying use others as a nudge to move forward, not as a start-up energy. Basically, you do the work and others will help. That’s it. Your “salvation” depends mostly on you.
“Imana ifasha uwifashije”. “Aides-toi et le ciel t’aideras”, “Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lends aid”, according to the Greek author Euripides. So, Burundians, French and Greeks agree that everything starts with your own actions and then others or God will help you. Well, imagine that! What are the chances? What a coincidence! I am sure if we searched hard, we’d find similar proverbs in every culture in the world. Yet another proof of how similar we all are.
No one will save you if you don’t do the necessary work to save yourself first. Work on your improvement, walk that path of enlightenment and your life will be better. That is the definition of “saving yourself”.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!