“Take full responsibility for yourself, your own needs and desires. Let others take responsibility for theirs.”
A frequent issue I encounter in with clients and others, is the mismanagement and misplacement of responsibility. Too many people have developed the habit of taking too much responsibility for the wants and needs of others, and not enough responsibility for their own needs and desires.
Another way you might think of it, is being overly responsible for the satisfaction and happiness of others, and insufficiently responsible for your own. You can really only be responsible for the satisfaction and happiness of one person in your life – that’s you!
Unless you’re the parent of children who depend on you, there’s ultimately only one person you can be responsible for – that’s you! No matter how much you might want to try to fix, solve problems or change the behaviors of others, you can’t do it. Each individual must take full responsibility for their own thoughts, words and actions.
When you try to take responsibility for the thoughts, words or actions of others, then you can fall into any number of traps. You’ll become overly concerned, worried about and attached to the person in unhealthy ways. If you’re being overly responsible for someone, you will consciously or unconsciously try to manipulate, manage or even control them and their behavior.
The flip side of it is that you’ll likely end up being irresponsible in ways small and large in your own life. You’ll likely expend your energy and attention in the futile attempt to manage the other, all the while neglecting your own needs and desires. This causes additional stress, anxiety, worry and suffering. You’ll probably find yourself stuck or unable to action in your own life as well. Ouch!
So the solution is to recognize what you’re really responsible for, and what you’re not. If it’s something that you have direct control over then you are responsible for it. That would be specifically your own thoughts words, actions and projects. If it’s something that you do not have a direct ability to make decisions about and take action on, then you’re not responsible for it.
Let’s be clear, you can still offer help to family, friends or loved ones. You can still support or contribute to others. But you don’t need to make their problems your own.
Here’s What to Do!
- “What is the cause of these feelings?”
This will help you identify the situation or circumstance that has you feeling that way. Make sure you identify something specific.
- “Is this really my responsibility?”
If it’s not, then take another deep breath and let it go. If on the other hand it is your responsibility – something you have the direct ability to decide or act upon – then you can address it and diffuse the anxiety through positive action.
Remember that it may be a process of re-training yourself. If you find that you’re being over-responsible for someone else, make a self-responsible choice to give it up. You’ll reclaim more of your own energy, power and creativity as you step into full responsibility for yourself.
Best of all, as you choose to take care of your own needs, desires satisfaction and happiness first, you’ll experience more energy, light-heartedness and peace of mind!
Forgiveness is a direct path to greater freedom and peace of mind as well. Letting go of the mental and emotional burdens of the past is part of taking full responsibility for yourself. Get a copy of my book, The Forgiveness Handbook: A Simple Guide to Freedom of the Mind and Heart, to find out the true meaning, power and possibilities of forgiving yourself and others. Click on the book photo in the right hand side bar now. Or go to The Forgiveness Club site, for additional information and resources and forgiveness and emotional education.