Letting go of responsibility for others

Do you feel responsible for another adult’s health or wellbeing? Do you want to see them change?

I am working as a coach/mentor on a Leaps & Bounds project in Dudley with disadvantaged young adults. They work on personal development goals for a year and at the same time they work on a dance and drama production, for a performance in July 2008. Last year’s project ‘Ballet Hoo’ was televised by Channel 4.

The project leaders remind us not to answer for the young adults and not to do things for them. They tell us that it is important for the young adults to learn for themselves. That no one learns from having things done for them. I feel responsible for these young people changing, but this is a decision that only they can make.

rosalyn clare life coach practice responsibility burdenParents know that they need to step back from their children’s lives in order to let their children grow up and make their own mistakes. Sooner or later, parents cannot run after their children when they forget their lunch. What is appropriate for a 5 year old is not appropriate for a 17 year old.

I can find this hard. Especially when I care for someone and do not want to see them hurt. Especially when I desperately want someone to see someone change and I think if only I say the right thing…

Sometimes friends and family will ask for support with a specific issue and we can choose whether to say yes or no. Sometimes we might choose to offer help. And we still are not responsible for them. We do not need to shoulder all their burdens. We cannot make them change.

What makes us hang on to these burdens? What makes us shoulder responsibility for issues outside our control? What would life be like if we let go?

ACTION CHALLENGE: Do you feel responsible for anyone? What issues do you feel responsible for? Take some time to mentally package up the responsibility and visualise handing it back to the person. Imagine handing them a box and them taking it. You are giving them back the power to make their own (good or bad) decisions.

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