We all need a heavy dose of 'easier', but it's not likely to happen on its own just because we deserve it.
The demands on our energy and time have become so big and constant that there’s no room to explore, process, or engage in sacred play.
These vital elements can drop away for so long that we start to see them as luxuries. That’s the sign we’ve fallen into the mentality of the White Rabbit … always rushing, always behind, never stopping to smell the roses or the coffee or how Spring smells like an earth-version of heaven through the open window.
We’re too busy chasing the cheese to even open the windows.
We tell ourselves it will only be for a little while, to catch up, or until some external circumstance changes and gives us what we won’t give ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but external forces just don’t have that good of a track record for having my back or even my best interests at heart.
So why should I put all my golden eggs of trust in that basket to give me what I need before I crash and burn out? Why should you?
Sure, we have obligations. But here’s where the wheat gets separated from the chaff: the only obligations we have to fulfill are the legitimate ones.
Let me repeat that. The only responsibilities required of us are the ones that legitimately belong to us.
Notice how the word ‘legitimate’ keeps popping up. It’s the key to all this. In the midst of busyness, of working the never-ending to-do list and in multiple directions like a maniac, our sharp eye of savvy discernment gets blurred by all the debris in the playing field. So we miss what’s really happening …
That LOADS of crap keep getting piled on us or near us in the hopes that we’ll take them on as part of our own because we’re too distracted and snowed to tell where our stuff ends and someone else’s begins. We just stay too busy to see the forest for those particular trees.
Okay. I’m going to say the thing that caring people don’t want to say because they don’t want to be called ‘judgmental’. But the truth is the truth. It doesn’t set us free by existing, but by us seeing it for what it is. So here goes …
People who won’t be responsible for their own legitimate stuff have gotten GOOD at deflecting and manipulating the facts. There’s no other way to stay off the hook. Victimized thinking always has to make someone else responsible.
Now I’m not talking about people who have true handicaps, who do their best and still need help. I’m talking about the ones who, despite being capable, refuse to stand up and be counted. Who refuse to be up front and honest.
You’ve heard the saying, ‘Give stuff to a busy person because he’ll get it done’? Well, the same goes for bundles of responsibility: ‘Give my load to a responsible person, and she’ll get it done … so I won’t have to.’
The problem is, besides the rank injustice of it, that our resources, our time, our energy, are FINITE. And if we want freedom in our life, a diminishing of chaos and drama, and the space to start actively creating the realities we want, we can’t keep taking on other people’s stuff.
They want it done? They can do it. We don’t have a snowball’s chance of breaking free of the White Rabbit if we don’t accept this.
We can’t control other people. So if they want to avoid shouldering their own responsibilities, they’re free to make that choice. But …
Every Choice has a twin, and its name is Consequence.
It may sound hard, but it’s not my job or your job to make that uneasy road easy for someone who refuses to take responsibility. There are just so many hours in a day, days in a year, and years in a life to keep wasting that much effort.
And if you want to hone your vision and focus, accomplish your own goals and have the space to enjoy your own life? To smell whatever it is you want to smell and take your sweet time doing it, then you’re going to have to get really clear about what belongs on your plate … and what doesn’t.
And you’re also going to have to thicken your manipulatable skin so that the people who don’t want their plate back will have to find some other ‘good will’ to give it to.
Because here’s the truth: whatever aspects ARE a part of being your brother’s keeper, they don’t include taking your brother’s action which – no matter what sob or guilt story he lays on you – are his, and only his, to take.
Photo: Julie Franks-Murray
What responsibilities or tasks are on my plate that aren’t really mine? How did I come to see myself as responsible for them? Did I believe outside voices … or an inside voice of guilt?
Could taking things off my plate cause friction? What do I stand to lose by refusing to do things that aren’t mine to do? What do I stand to gain? What’s it going to take for me to fully come to a place of allowing other people to be responsible for themselves?
My feelings matter as much as anyone else’s. What can I do to start honoring them and giving them more space and voice? Does it boil down to valuing and trusting myself more … and listening to others less?