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Is Your Health a Right or a Privilege?

Is Your Health a Right or a Privilege?

A lot of people want to lose weight and get healthier because they want to reduce the amount of resistance in their lives. In their minds, they imagine a future imaginary end point where a certain weight and health goal will fix some major issues in their life.


Resistance is Part of Growth


Resistance in general, however, is a necessary component of growth. It's also how we interact with the world around us. We encounter resistance each time we try to do something for our growth. It's like the resistance of the clay against the potter's hands. It's like the tossing and turning of the ocean that creates the beauty of the driftwood and the examples go on and on.

In addition to being an important part of growth, resistance is also inevitable. We are wired to avoid what we perceive as uncomfortable and stick to what’s comfortable. This is also the same reason why most people tend to procrastinate. [1]

In our lives, when we focus on a direction and we’re not staking everything on a specific outcome, then we can maneuver and adapt as natural resistance comes. And it always comes!  It’s inevitable as the saying goes of “death and taxes.”

Here's the good news: The resultant creation or endpoint is often unexpected and it's often a lot more beautiful than we ever would have imagined.


What to Focus on Instead of Reducing Resistance


Instead of trying to reduce resistance, there is one perspective that can better help you achieve your health and life goals in a positive way: seeing our health as a privilege and not a right.

The problem is many of us think it’s the other way around. We mistake our health as a right and not a privilege.   Sometimes the easiest way to lose a privilege is to mistake it for a right.  Let’s discuss this further.


Right vs. Privilege


What’s the difference between a right or a privilege? One definition that appeals to me personally is a definition by Dr. Robert Rhondell Gibson and also the comedian George Carlin. They both state that a right is something that you earned and can't be taken away from you. Because health and even life can be taken away from you with the right poison or a weapon, it's distinctly a privilege.

We have certain things about our lives that are privileges and this is tied up to the practice of gratitude. To illustrate, think about walking. There's no question that the ability to walk is a privilege. When you realize that walking is a privilege, then you would naturally do everything in your power to maintain, enhance, and maybe even gain more of it.

How do you maintain, enhance, and gain more of your walking ability, since we now know it's not a right and it can be taken away from you anytime? You walk, stretch, perform exercises to improve your balance, flexibility, endurance, and do other activities that would enrich your walking ability.

In doing these things to improve your walking ability, you are implicitly expressing gratitude for the gift of walking. You are valuing your privilege.

Cooking is also a privilege. How do you maintain, enhance, or gain more of it? You cook healthy meals for your well-being, so that you can continue doing it.


Gratitude vs. Greed


When thinking of our privileges, gratitude and greed also come in. Gratitude is showing appreciation for your privileges. It is recognizing that you have an amazing and wonderful privilege and you want to protect, enhance, and grow it.

Greed, on the other hand, displaces gratitude. Greed is wanting more, better, and different from something that one has taken for granted.


How to Start Seeing More of Life’s Privileges


1. Realize that most of the good things in our life are not rights, they are privileges.

Make a list of aspects of your life which you think are privileges in these five levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social. It is easier to see your privileges if you break it down into these five different levels.

2. When it comes to health, you can start from where you are.

Focus on at least one privilege and start from there, whether it's your ability to walk or cook or the ability to choose healthier options in our food. You can then focus on expanding, enhancing, and gaining more of that privilege.  Practice it until it becomes a habit.

3. Take a look at your health and assess your health goals and focus more on the direction than the end goal.

By doing so, you will again realize that you already are a very privileged human being right now. Start spending time thinking about that and make an effort to secure those privileges.




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