Responsibility for Ourselves

September 25, 2018

Responsibility for Ourselves

Caretaking: the act of taking responsibility for other people while neglecting responsibility for ourselves. When we instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, problems, comfort, and destiny of others, we are caretakers. We may believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for our happiness, just as we’re responsible for theirs.

It’s a worthy goal to be a considerate, loving, nurturing person. But caretaking is neglecting ourselves to the point of feeling victimized. Caretaking involves caring for others in ways that hamper them in learning to take responsibility for themselves.

Caretaking doesn’t work. It hurts other people; it hurts us. People get angry. They feel hurt, used, and victimized. So do we.

The kindest and most generous behavior we can choose is taking responsibility for ourselves—for what we think, feel, want, and need. The most beneficial act we can perform is to be true to ourselves, and let others take responsibility for themselves.

Today, I will pay attention to my actual responsibilities to myself. I will let others do the same. If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory.

From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted January 9, 2015

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.

CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.