I have quite a few folks among my family and friends, mostly women, who are genuinely loving people, but who often take care of others while neglecting themselves. Sound familiar?
I call this false responsibility. Not false in the sense of being phony, but false in the sense of having misaligned priorities.
These folks, for whatever reasons, feel unduly responsible for others. Sometimes it seems for practically the whole world. Or at least the world of their families and friends.
I got a graphic reminder of this last weekend. A friend told me she was deeply depressed over some serious problems her adult daughter was having. Also, she’d just learned another family member had died of a drug overdose. That only added to her depression.
I’ll never forget the words a dear childhood friend once said to me about her children, who were then teenagers. She said “You can’t help worrying about your children — it’s natural.”
We never know what future lies ahead for us or the people we love. But is it natural, or even desirable, to project a fearful future for our loved ones? Is it natural to neglect our own well-being in fits of fretting and worrying over our loved ones? Is it natural to put ourselves last?
And what is worry anyway? Our dear friend Emmanuel once defined worry as a socially acceptable form of distrust. I love that!
None of you are responsible for the whole world and its problems. Even if that “whole world” is only the world of your family.
As John said, many folks feel responsible for their loved ones, often to the point of neglecting themselves. A good example is John’s friend who was depressed over her daughter’s problems, and then over the untimely death of another family member.
We do not want to sound harsh here, but is that friend doing her daughter, or herself, any good by being depressed? Absolutely not. You cannot help anyone, family or not, through their challenges by allowing yourselves to get dragged down into the negativity others are experiencing.
We love Emmanuel’s definition of worry. Your society tells you it’s natural to worry about your loved ones. In our view that’s the most unnatural thing you can do. Simply because the mass consciousness says it’s okay doesn’t make it okay. What you are doing, as Emmanuel says, is not trusting that your loved ones have the inner resources to handle their own problems. You’re not trusting their souls to be there for them and to help them through whatever experiences they’re having.
Worry very effectively focuses your energy on the problem. So what are you really doing? You’re certainly not doing your loved one any favors. You’re simply adding to her problem. What you give your attention to expands. It’s that simple.
Now we realize many of you have developed lifelong habits of worry and fear, expecting the worst. But that never accomplishes what you want.
The only way you can help another is to keep yourself in a place where you’re focused on the solution. Then ideas will come to you. You will be adding positive energy to the situation and to the person with the problem.
This is absolutely the only way you can truly help others. It may seem challenging at first to do this, but do it anyway. Look for the positives in the problem. Look, as you say, for “the silver lining.” Realize the problem is an opportunity for the person to grow.
You will begin to uplift the other person because you will have uplifted yourself first. You don’t solve problems at the same low vibrational level where they were created.
Your true responsibility is to yourself first. Only then can you rid yourselves of that false sense of responsibility. And only then are you of any use to yourself or anyone else.
Do you take on other people’s problems?
We want to hear from you!