Throughout my life and my journey of depression, I have been blessed to learn a lesson so many find elusive. What is it? Taking responsibility for myself.

I grew up in a home where taking responsibility was not a priority. In other words, whatever happened was the fault of someone else.  This way of thinking kept me in a cycle of unhappiness and discontent. I thought that blaming others for my issues would make life easier, when in fact it made life much harder.

Neglecting to take responsibility for our actions keeps us in victimhood. To me, not taking responsibility is a choice we make subconsciously. Because we don’t think about making this choice, we stay stuck, waiting for someone else to fix whatever needs fixing.

Not taking responsibility for our own actions means that we also wait for someone else to make us feel better, when the truth is no one can. When I started seeing myself as the real arbiter of my life, I found myself to be much more contented.

It seems counter-intuitive, but when we lift ourselves above victimhood and realize we must each make the decision to guide our own life, pride can grow. And I think pride leads to self-satisfaction. Because when you include yourself in the equation, you can claim your successes too.

If you’re waiting for a counselor or doctor to find a happier life for you, you will wait forever.

But when you decide to take part in getting well, the sweetness of achieving wellness is that much more gratifying.

For me, taking responsibility for my actions  was the path that empowered me to take credit for what was good in my life, no matter how small or how large the success.  Over time I found I paid more attention to the successes instead of miring myself in my mistakes.

Here’s a habit I developed to help me begin the process of finding contentment. At the beginning of each day, write down three things—just three things—you are grateful for. Acknowledging the things for which I was grateful, no matter how small, opened the door to a more contented life. Developing the gratefulness habit might help you too.