January 25, 2017

Who Are You Responsible For?

Do me a favor. List all of the people whom you feel responsible for. Go.

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Okay.

Who did you write down? Your children? Your parents? Your students? Your significant other? Your pets? Out of all of these people, did you happen to write down your own name? Our idea of what responsibility entails has become so focused on tasks and others that we have forgotten to take care of ourselves.

Reality check: You are responsible for YOU and everything that has to do with YOU. Your words, actions, decisions. If it has to do with you, it is your responsibility. We like dancing around this notion that if we are making a decision on behalf of someone else (or in lieu of someone else), we are exempt from the repercussions that this decision may bring. (See: “Playing victim” syndrome)

Here is a prime example. As a teacher, I feel responsible for all of my students and their successes.  These successes take on many forms; they range from daily achievements to big deal, life-impacting accomplishments.  When these achievements occur, I love cheering them on. This is why lots of people are drawn to teaching- the feeling of celebrating accomplishment. But sometimes, in the process of helping my students realize their potential, I have to check myself. I sometimes let that feeling of responsibility cloud my judgement of allowing them to find their OWN truths by following their own path.

 

Do you push people to better themselves because you feel responsible for them? Do you feel like you need to save people because you recognize their hidden potential? Before you begin making a life plan for these people, ask them what they want. Because maybe, that responsibility that you feel is misplaced, and you simply need someone to remind you.

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