With all the usual talk about giving during the holiday season, one area where we can show the most compassion and caring is rarely addressed. That is taking responsibility for ourselves. What do I mean by that and why is that being included with gratitude and giving?
To me, taking responsibility means owning my thoughts, feelings, choices, beliefs and behaviors. I do not put them on others by acting out, playing victim and taking hostages by not taking care of myself. This can happen in a million ways. If I don’t take care of my health, my finances, my emotions, and my choices, my family must deal with the consequences. And even though they might have compassion for “why” I struggle to get it together, the fallout remains. I talk with clients all the time about our unintended net effects on others we may be too myopic to see. Conversely, there are wonderful benefits of really being mindful about our choices. When you Own More of You:
You Lower Their Anxiety. In these times, who wouldn’t benefit from less worry? When they no longer have to worry about you, what you will or won’t do, or about the impending consequences thereof, they can relax a bit more, and focus on better things like being a family or finding solutions during the pandemic. No longer do they have to worry about your next anger outburst, the late bill you didn’t pay, or your inability to grieve. Your kids will feel the peace too, and will be less likely to take on adult worries – because they no longer have to.
You Increase Trust. This is because you can be relied upon to take care of things, without being rescued. There is less conflict because there is less fear on their end that things won’t be ok. If they can trust in you to honor the boundaries they have set for themselves, they will feel “safe”. When we feel safe we are out of fight-or-flight mode and can focus on better things.
There’s More Confidence in the Relationship. Now that there is a bit more trust, you can move into healthy negotiating where each of you feels like you are in a place of healthy choice, you can compromise and most importantly TRUST that the agreements will be upheld.
This creates better partnership. You are equally participatory and equally responsible for everything in the relationship. You can now actually work toward becoming more vulnerable and thus closer and create meaning together.
Your Confidence Goes Up. When are not in conflict with yourself: where part of you wants to do and be better and the other part just don’t wanna. Yet. Your self-trust increases when you follow through. When you don’t put your mess on others to clean up. They like being around you more. You like you more too. Others will actually become kinder to you because resentment, and hurt, fear and distrust won’t be in the way.
So as you can see, taking responsibility for our thoughts feelings and actions is the one of the most profound ways we can show kindness to others. It shows we are willing to get at the core of trust in our relationships and by doing so show we really care about how they feel. We take ownership of the net effects on others, while detaching from them as well. Healthy separateness creates healthy bonds, and trust is the underpinning. So go spread some kindness by practicing self care…