Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Two Responsibilities

Started this blog at 3:45 a.m. I've written and erased a lot of stuff about life and moving and all kinds of other shit. As I was writing I found myself reminding myself of my two rules and suddenly everything made sense again. Thankfully.

1. First Responsibility: Each person is responsible for their own condition.

My mental, emotional and physical conditions are my own responsibility and if I were to transfer that by saying "He's making me angry" or "She's driving me insane" or "This is making me sick" is simply me giving control of my well-being to something or someone else. Recognizing that enables me to take back control of my own condition if I choose. Keeping this concept in mind is one of the most difficult tasks for me to do sometimes when life's events continue to occur as they do, impacting the progress I try to make. It's a natural reaction to make someone else responsible. In truth, they're responsible for their own actions but not how I feel about them. Which leads me to number 2...

2. Second Responsibility: Each person is responsible for how they relate to their environment, but not for how their environment relates to them.

We are responsible for how we relate to people, places and things and must bear the responsibility. But we are not responsible for how they relate to us. Perhaps something we did made them choose to do what they did. Perhaps it was something else ... maybe there was another outside life influence that affected their choices. The one life you live is yours, not theirs so it's impossible for you to know 100% what it is that causes them to act the way they do without asking them.

This second responsibility is even harder for me to keep focused on because I care about people so much. I care about what they think, how they feel, etc. Even more so when they're close to me... when they've taken an interest in me more so than just what I can do for them either actively or passively. A real, honest interest. When they're upset, I'm upset and I want to help. It's just who I am. Some people understand this, others don't.

There are two ways this can play out if the second rule is not remembered. One is resentmenet. In order to help out and be a good friend, I sacrifice my resources for them (time, money, etc.) to make things easier for them. This can lead to resentment at times if it's felt like an equal effort is not being returned. But what I must remember at times like this is that I chose to do what I did. Once I remember that, once I dig back and think about why... it becomes beautifully clear.

The second way this can play out is guilt. When I give and give and then stop for a moment to take care of something I need to do for myself, and my friends become burdened with something that I can't help with or said I would help with or otherwise, I begin to feel pangs of guilt for leaving them in a situation that I could have helped with if I hadn't stopped for a moment to be selfish. What I must remember at times like these is that being selfish is not a bad thing. If one doesn't take care of themselves and their own responsibilities, their lives will be out of balance and they will not be able to help anyone else. Circumstances are unfortunate in many cases and it is good to comiserate and provide support for each other in that respect.

I will not stop trying to save the world; it's who I am. I will not compromise who I am. It's what makes me happy. But I will stop getting upset over whether the world wants to give anything back to me. If it does, it does and it becomes a beautiful thing. If it doesn't, I have the option to continue to give or to stop giving. I will also try to stop feeling guilty for things I had no control over while I was being a little selfish. I was only trying to take care of my own responsibilities so that my life was in order and freed up to help another with theirs.

I have the feeling that today is going to be a very productive day.

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