I have come to realize that many people, myself included, sometimes have a false sense of responsibility. In coaching especially, I often find that people feel that they are responsible for everybody around them. So many mothers are burdened with the idea that only they can do certain things for their children.
I often hear phrases like, “I have to help them”, “Nobody else can …”, “it is my responsibility…”, “I need to provide …”, “everybody expects me to,”, “Everybody is looking to me”. Does any of these sound familiar?
So what if you are not there any longer, what happens to all these poor, helpless people and children?
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “How can I help everybody around me to function at such a level that when I am gone, they will still be able to survive and more than that … thrive?” Well off course the simple answer is, give them the responsibility to function on their own, now already. Trust them to deliver, achieve and provide for themselves, because that will make it so much easier for them … and for you.
The truth is that when we are responsible for everybody, we find ourselves overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, unhappy, burnt out and frustrated beyond words. We are also not helping the people around us because we rob them of opportunities to do things for themselves. We rob them of growth they need to ensure their own survival and success. Worst of it all is that our subtle message to them is actually, “I don’t believe you can do this so I have to do everything for you.”
So many so called “bosses” will say that they rather do things themselves because at least they then know that it is done well. I love coaching people with this mentality because they are completed blinded by their own need for control and significance.
The reality is that this mindset is not empowering and in the long run does not serve you or the people you “have to help and protect”. It is all part of the lie we feed ourselves to feel we are powerful, significant and irreplaceable.
What is the responsibility we have then towards each other? Are we responsible for each other’s choices? Are we responsible for each other’s behavior? Are we responsible for each other’s thoughts or emotions? I don’t think so. I believe the best answer is found in the Bible, where it says you should only owe each other love. Nothing else. So if I love my brother I need to be his mirror. I need to reflect all his strengths, gifts and potential back to him. I also sometimes have to show his blind spots to him so that he can be enlightened and conquer the things that are holding him back. Holding a mirror however also brings added benefits, because we can see our own reflection. When we hold the mirror in love we also become aware of our own potential, our own purpose and gifts, but our own blind spots are also revealed. Because whatever we can see in our brother, surely is within us too.
If only we can let go of the burden of trying to fix everybody around us and trying to solve everybody else’s problems and mistakes, how much freer and happier would we be ourselves. The curious thing is that the more joy we have in our lives, the more joy we release in the lives of others. The more relaxed and at peace we are, the more we allow others to feel relaxed and peaceful in our presence.
The more we trust others to walk their own journey, the more we empower them to reach their full potential. What if we could let go of everything else and just allow others to be … and to now and then pick up the mirror and show them their true reflection while mindfully studying our own…