Consider what you are carrying that does not belong.
Could you lighten your burden by tearing up the imaginary unpaid debt you think you owe people?
Remember, carrying the world around on your back is profoundly heavy stuff. And having overdeveloped sense of responsibility is helping nobody.
Your sanity and health are more important than pleasing whoever you think can’t survive without you.
They will be fine. Let others be in charge of themselves. Free yourself of the burden of making decisions for everyone you love. Trust that they will take responsible for their own future. And know that whatever happens, you will try to love them anyway.
You just won’t enable them anymore.
Here’s a helpful exercise to test the health of your current load. Pick something that you don’t typically want to do, but that you usually do in order to please people. And then deliberately take the risk of refusing to do it.
Once the deed is done, notice where you feel that guilt your body. Notice how much of an impact your actions have on humanity. Notice the degree to which your boundary affects your relationship.
Odds are, it will be unremarkable.
Even if it stings for a day or two, and even if it frustrates the other person, it can’t possibly be as painful as taking on the emotional burden of someone else’s happiness.
Brene put it eloquently in her book about braving the wilderness:
Belonging in our heart is not a reward for perfecting, pleasing, proving and pretending. It’s not something others can hold hostage or take away. Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.
Next time the urge comes to make decisions for everyone you love, remind yourself that this is their burden to carry, not yours.
Your job is to love people. Not understand them, not fix them, not save them, not manage them, but love them.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Once you’ve cleared up all the old stuff that has been burdening you, what might your life have more room for?