We all have baggage, it’s part of life and no one is immune. The difference is how heavy our baggage becomes and how we manage it.
Personal responsibility involves carrying your own baggage because after all, you’re the one who packed that baby up through the decisions you’ve made in your life.
Feeling like your ‘bags’ are too heavy to carry? It’s up to you to deal with that problem.
For some of us, we get so bogged down managing and carrying other people’s stuff that we get pulled off-balance and become over-burdened with things that shouldn’t even affect us.
This most often happens with “the strong ones” in any given group.
Being a strong one certainly has it’s benefits but it also has its burdens too.
One of those burdens is that those around us who know us to be “the strong one,” decide that it’s ok to push their problems off on to us and to leave their messes for us to clean up. And we too happily oblige. We’re strong enough after all and we’re compassionate so we want to help however we can.
Until we can’t anymore.
Then we become the “trigger” that sets off another’s crisis – and that feels worse than stubbing your toe on the couch and stepping on Legos (or jacks, depending on what generation you’re from) at the same time.
Here’s the rub… People who lack personally responsibility, don’t feel grateful when you carry their baggage or clean up their messes, they EXPECT it and they know you can do it. And when you stop doing it, they feel that you’ve failed them or let them down and heidi-ho will they let you know.
Cue the toddler-esque tirade or tantrum and the outpouring of passive aggressive behavior.
They never consider the toll that you carrying all their stuff takes on your physical and emotional health.
And guess what? It doesn’t matter to them why you can’t / won’t carry the weight for them anymore, it doesn’t matter if your health and wellbeing depends on you releasing extra burdens that aren’t yours (and it does by the way).
What to do, what to do…
Starting now, start paying attention to where you are being called on to “fix” things for others – things that they themselves have caused.
Then pull back.
State that you’re not carrying the load or doing x,y,z for them anymore because they made the mess and they need to do the work to clean it up.
It’s tough love.
But it’s also how you stay alive, and thriving.
Don’t be a martyr and don’t enable bad, irresponsible behavior in those close to you.
Oh and for clarity’s sake (no hate mail y’all), temporarily helping another through a tough spot is fine, loving, compassionate and will fill you up. I’m talking about sacrificing yourself for the benefit of another who is in the place they’re in because they lack personal responsibility to clean up their own messes.