The reality in today’s world is that the human race is in its infancy relative to relationships. Many people alive today are not ready to choose to have actual and real relationships. Many more are ready, but have no idea what having an actual and real relationship entails. As a result, so much confusion and misinformation abounds.
Part of this confusion is that there is a split in human consciousness between those who live by the philosophy that we are totally responsible for how other people feel, and those who believe we are in no way responsible for how other people feel. Both polarized views do not represent a full picture of reality and thus both polarized views lead to suffering. Also, both philosophies have arisen as a way to cope with trauma.
In recent years, the philosophy that you are not responsible for how other people feel is the philosophy that has been propagated the most. Self help teachers and psychologists and life coaches and spiritual teachers have been teaching this concept as if it is a new absolute truth and society has begun to buy into it, hook line and sinker. For this reason, I’m going to address this philosophy first.
For thousands of years, and still today, the vast majority of the families in the world are dysfunctional. Dysfunctional being that the way the needs are met within the family group, happens in a way that is detrimental to the individuals involved instead of beneficial. One of these is that instead of teaching the child to consider the parents feelings as well as their own, the parent makes the child responsible to make him or her feel good all the time. To do this, often the child has to give themselves up and let go of his or her own needs, wants, feelings and thoughts in order to remain close with this parent. This is enmeshment. It makes the child not only lose their sense of self, but also sense of freedom and free will. Connection is felt as an unbearable pressure to this person; like a ball and chain or a prison that closes in on them.
If the children in this family cannot find a way to give themselves up so as to make mom or dad feel good, they are pushed away in various ways by the other members of the family. They learn to adhere to the philosophy that “it is every man out for himself or herself”. You can see then that it would be an incredible relief to either adopt a new belief that you are not responsible for how anyone else feels. OR to find some spiritual explanation that justifies having to fend for yourself as a child. ‘It’s not that you were not loved, it’s that no one should be responsible for how you feel’. It is this relief that causes people to align with this philosophy.
Most people who adopt the philosophy that they are not responsible for how anyone feels, don’t even recognize the fact that they do have trauma in their childhood that is causing them to polarize towards an incomplete philosophy. The people who adhere to the philosophy that they are not responsible for how anyone else feels deeply fear (because of their childhood experience) that if they take responsibility, they will lose themself. They will not exist. They will lose their feelings, thoughts, needs and desires. They want the empowerment of being able to have themselves. So they cover over this fear by saying “I take power away from the people by taking responsibility for the way they feel”. But to maintain this philosophy, they have to contradict themselves and draw may arbitrary lines. For example… A child shouldn’t be responsible for themselves, but an adult should. So, when does this changeover occur? Or a pet/animal shouldn’t be responsible for itself when adopted by a person as opposed to being in the wild, but a human should always be responsible for itself. What differentiates a human from an animal?
The main problem with this philosophy is that those who support it, see themselves as separate no matter whether they preach oneness or not. Everything you think, say and do effects the whole. You cannot escape this no matter how hard you try because oneness is one of the more objective truths of this universe. They see connection as a direct contradiction to freedom and personal power. They often argue that it is more loving to leave someone to their own empowerment, in this case responsibility, than it is to take responsibility for them in any given scenario. This theory may be true in some scenarios depending on a person’s best interests, but it falls apart in others.
For example, certain individuals cannot regulate their own emotions. Therefore, making them responsible for how they feel when they get into certain situations that cause a reaction in them is the same as dumping a paralyzed person off at the bottom of a staircase and telling them to climb the stairs. It is heartless and completely disconnected.
Another example is that if someone is trying super hard to make it to a college, but cant figure out how to make the money to get there because they come from a poor family, telling them “I believe you can get the money if you care enough” is not always loving, sometimes it is just ignorance on multiple levels. We are using the idea of empowering them to do it themselves as a cover for the fact that we don’t want to be financially responsible for helping them.
These people often use the psychological technique of re-framing to escape and avoid their emotions and by doing so; create more splits in their own consciousness. Here is an example: If I drove a car over one of their children and said “I’m not responsible for the way you feel, you’re responsible for the way that you feel”… it would be obvious that either their own philosophy would fall apart because I have absolutely caused the emotional reaction they had to their child being run over. This would just simply be a cover for abuse. Or, if they try to re-frame out of it, it would be an attempt to dissociate or bypass their painful feelings so as to control the way they feel. This is not resolution. This is fragmentation.
So many of the people who adhere to the philosophy that they are not responsible for how anyone else feels think they have it all figured out because they aren’t in a lot of pain. But they are not in a lot of pain because they have found ways to dissociate from feeling in and of itself. They have created coping mechanisms to avoid feeling. This automatically includes feeling others because even if you are feeling others, you are still feeling them through your own body and you’re unwilling to do that.
It can be loving to empower someone. Therefore it can absolutely be empowering for someone to take responsibility for themselves. But it can also be a way to hide from facing and resolving our own trauma instead of integrating it. It can also be a disguise for our own refusal to feel emotions and our own refusal to admit where we don’t want to be responsible because we feel ashamed for not wanting it. It is an especially good way of avoiding the feeling of being powerless in ANY way to others.
If you adhere to the philosophy that you are not responsible for how anyone else feels, you are not in a relationship with anyone but you. You are ignorant to the fact that people learn how to be responsible by watching other people be responsible. For example, a child learns how to emotionally regulate by being emotionally regulated. An adult has to take responsibility for their child’s emotional state to do that. This is why the cry it out method is one of the biggest failures known to mankind. Because of your past, relationships inevitably make you feel trapped. You are trending towards spiritually justified narcissism and even sociopathy. It is not an accurate view of reality.
Now let’s look at the other philosophy. If you believe you are totally responsible for how other people feel, you will most likely not identify yourself as someone who adheres to this philosophy. It is more likely to be subconscious. In your childhood, you got mixed messages. On the one hand, you were expected to take responsibility for yourself as a child and for a great many other things, regardless of whether you were ready for it or not. This made you feel abandoned. But at the same time, when your parents expected this of you, you were not stupid, you saw that this hyper-responsibility that was expected of you, was a shirking of their own responsibility. Meaning that you felt first hand, the pain of someone not taking responsibility for you (or the pain of them taking responsibility for you and others where they didn’t want to). So, you have a split within you between the part of you that does want to be responsible for everyone and everything, including how people feel because you like the feeling of being a good guy and the solid feeling of knowing you are nothing like those people who hurt you. You also like the connection you feel in taking responsibility for others. But at the same time, you are cracking apart at the seams because of all the pressure of responsibility. You resent people because of that pressure. You don’t want to be responsible for things that you don’t want to be responsible for any more than anyone else does.
If you are adhering to the idea that you are responsible for how everyone else feels, you are actually not seeing other people’s capability clearly. You are taking their empowerment and free will away from them in many scenarios. You are making them dependent, and often you are doing this because making them dependent meets your needs in an indirect way.
If you are adhering to the idea that you are responsible for how everyone else feels you are causing fragmentation in yourself because you are abandoning and bulldozing part of you when you do things you don’t want to do. You are not in a genuine relationship with yourself. You are also not free. You have lost freedom because you are not choosing with your free will what to be responsible for if you are simply taking responsibility for everything.
You are also taking responsibility for things you cannot control or that you will have to go into inauthenticity in order to control. For example, you cannot control if some people dislikes you. They may dislike you because you remind them of their mother. If you are taking responsibility for that, you will fail. You will have to eradicate from yourself or change any trait that reminds them of their mother or work on them day and night like a therapist so they are no longer triggered by those traits. Or for example, if you drive a certain car that makes someone feel jealous, if you take responsibility for how that makes them feel and sell that car to buy a car that doesn’t make them feel jealous, you have just enabled them in their personal insecurities and at the same time as screwed yourself.
If you are adhering to the idea that you are responsible for how everyone else feels, you are not really living. You have taken a poisoned apple of responsibility tasting virtuous and killing you at the same time. And the pressure you have taken on will not only make you inauthentic or self hating, it will eventually kill you. It will also make you a match to the opposite polarity, which is endless and vast arrays of people who want to take no responsibility at all, and whom leave you with all of it.
The Third Element – Both polarities of this argument are in resistance to one another because they are terrified of the fate of the opposite polarity. Those who adhere to the philosophy that you are not responsible for how anyone else feels are terrified of losing themselves and their freedom and personal empowerment. Those who adhere to the philosophy that you are responsible for how other people feel are terrified of this world being a cruel, every man for himself world where they, themselves turn into the very narcissistic individuals who hurt them so much as a child or where nothing will get done unless they do it.
Both experienced the same pain. The first pain is “I can’t have me and have you too”. The second is “No one wants the responsibility of me… but I wish they did”. Neither the person who subscribes to the idea that they are not responsible for how anyone else feels nor the person who subscribes to the idea that they are responsible for how other people feel have experienced someone choosing with their free will to be responsible for them because, they want to. And neither person that subscribes to either philosophy is actually choosing with their free will what to be responsible for. It is coming from a place of determinism.
How do we unravel ourselves from this polarity?
We need to graduate into ‘And Consciousness’. The truth of this universe is that in the physical dimension, where you have a differentiated identity, you are separate. The truth is that in the universe at large, even your physical self is made of the same consciousness as everything in existence and so you are not separate and everything you do effects everything else in existence. Notice the contradiction? The only way to graduate beyond these dueling truths is to step into AND consciousness. For more information on this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness, The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way. We must embrace that both are true and find ways for them to be complimentary.
If we are living from a place of love, we take other people’s best interests as part of our own best interests, this includes how they feel. We need to get to a place where we can say ‘it makes me feel good when you feel good’ and ‘it hurts me if you are hurting’. But in taking people’s best interests as part of our own, we don’t get rid or our own best interests. We try to find a third option. If we cannot find a third option, where both of our needs are met and both of our best interests are capitalize on, we must consider incompatibility and/or drastically changing the roles we play in each other’s lives. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.
Often, when we are completely committed to making someone else feel good, we can’t say that we are committed to their best interests. Coping mechanisms make people feel better for example, but they can lead to ruin. Sometimes, telling someone a truth, even if it feels bad to them, may be more loving and considerate of their best interests than saying whatever makes them feel good. We have to be attuned enough to someone to feel into, see into, listen to and understand what someone’s best interests actually are. For this reason, watch my video titled: Attunement, The Key To A Good Relationship. We also need to accept that it may not be in a person’s actual best interests for us to be inauthentic with them. Not everyone is choosing to take your best interests as part of their own. It’s still your choice to choose to take their best interests as a part of your own even when they don’t, it’s just not a 2 way relationship.
We need to begin to choose our responsibilities that we do want with our own free will. This is the actual freedom we are looking for. Chosen responsibility is where the human race needs to be headed. And to do this, we choose what we want to become responsible for because it would make us feel good to do it, not because it would make us feel like a good person to do want we don’t want to do. One person cannot be responsible for everything, even in their own lives. When we divide up responsibility according to what responsibility we want to have, we will no longer see this huge gap within society between those who take all the responsibility and those who take none. We can live in alignment with our own authenticity. We have to accept that as people, we are willing to take pressure when that pressure is wanted pressure. One person may like to take the responsibility for helping someone emotionally and another may hate to take that responsibility. One person may like to take the responsibility for cooking and another may hate it. Also, this can change from day to day, so what someone wants to take responsibility for may change day to day and so we need to stay open to that flexibility. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Kind Of Supportive Are you?
We should not get ourselves into positions where we will be expected to be responsible for things we don’t want to be responsible for. We have to be honest; we are already doing this subconsciously. We are manipulatively shirking responsibility we don’t want. Whether we like it or not, we are already making other people responsible for what we don’t want to be responsible for. We guilt them into it. But where has it brought us to tell others to take responsibility where they do not want to? The answer is, it has taken us to emotional hell in our relationships.
The one thing we need to both take responsibility for is connection. If we are not both responsible for the connection, it means one person in the relationship doesn’t choose with their free will to be committed to it.
We have to be willing to feel, including feel others. This approach recognizes our mutuality and interconnectedness with other people in a way that appreciates how we, together, build and co-create our realities. Something that we need to cultivate for this is the capacity to be with our feelings, and the feelings of other people, even when they are difficult. For example, if we have done something that alters another person’s life in ways that are painful to them, we can listen to their feelings and see them as valid at the same time as listening to our own feelings and seeing them as valid enough to maintain that it was something we needed to do. This is the alternative to dismissing their feelings or going back on our decision because of their feelings and then resenting them for it. If we develop the ability to really be with feelings, ourselves and someone else’s as if they were our own, we develop the ability to respond in ways that accommodate both ourselves and other people at the same time. We create a win-win world.
You have got to break free from the societal constructs that tell you how you should be. This is a recipe for disaster. Society loves to say that certain roles come with certain responsibilities and so to have the role, you have to take the responsibilities, whether you like it or not. For example, when society gives you an idea of what a mom should be and what she should be responsible for, a woman tends to destroy her child because she either does not take certain responsibilities and places them on the child instead. OR she takes responsibility for what she doesn’t want to be responsible for and resents the kid for it. She is too guilted by society to find other people to fill in those roles, which in turn allows her to really take responsibility for her child where she does want to. And that is assuming that she even wants to have a kid in the first place.
If society says a husband should be responsible for the way his wife feels, a man may be totally inauthentic and do that just to get a partner and then change the way he is and expect her to be totally emotionally independent of him once they are married. Both will end up miserable and probably divorcing because he couldn’t be authentic enough to explain that he doesn’t want to be responsible for making a woman feel good. It conflicts with society’s idea of what a good husband is. If he didn’t do this, he could find a woman who was way more emotionally independent and she could find a man who does want the pressure of how a woman feels. Create a life and relationships that are a totally authentic expression of your truth. Not a truth others tell you, you should have.
We have to accept that what is empowering for one person may be disempowering for another and vice versa. We have the tendency to think that 100% responsibility is always empowering. Actually, it can be quite disempowering. It can be a prison instead. It means you are taking responsibility for things you don’t authentically want to take responsibility for. We are interdependent, just like the parts of a car engine. Can you imagine making a gas pump responsible for what a brake pad is responsible for? We need to find out how we fit into each other’s lives without trying to alter each other into something we are not and don’t want to be (we often only want to alter ourselves because we are told we SHOULD be that thing we are trying to alter ourselves to be).
It can be super empowering for someone to let go of a certain responsibility. It can make them more free and much more in alignment. It can also make someone much more free to be responsible for a certain thing. We run into real problems when we expect someone to be responsible for something that they do not want to be responsible for. There is a huge range of commitment as well. It may be totally in alignment for a person to say, “I chose to take responsibility for how you feel” in general because I’m your partner. It may be totally in alignment for someone to say “I’m taking total responsibility for how you feel in this moment that I did something to hurt you and so I’m going to fix it.” But it would be out of alignment for them to take responsibility in general for how the other feels. It may be totally in alignment for someone to say, “I’m not taking responsibility for how you feel in this scenario, I need you to either deal with the trigger you feel on your own or with someone else who would like to take that responsibility.” It all depends on the specific person and the specific scenario.
Develop an abundance attitude when it comes to responsibility. As people, we tend to have a really bad relationship to abundance, especially as it applies to resources. We are coming from a place of scarcity with both the philosophy that we are totally responsible or not at all responsible. We don’t see that there will always be someone who DOES want a specific responsibility. We either see ourselves as the only resource for others or the only resource for ourselves. If I tell myself no one wants to take responsibility for certain things, I’ll only be a match to people who don’t want to. If I tell myself I have to be responsible for certain things because its wrong not to be, I’ll only be a match to people to reinforce that belief for me that I’m the only one who can do it for myself. I’ll either not notice or push away people who try to take that responsibility from me. To believe that no one will take responsibility is a false assumption. It is also a false assumption to believe that someone else always will. These polarities always attract… they gravitate to each other like magnets, reinforcing each other’s reality. It is not an accurate picture of truth however. There will be someone who does want a certain responsibility. Are we open to finding that person?
- Meet your needs, even if that means finding other people to meet them. When people don’t want to take responsibility for anything, including how other people feel, you will come to find that they are usually starving to death when it comes to their own needs being met. They can’t take on any pressure of responsibility any more than a bank with no money in it can handle a withdrawal. For this reason, I want you to watch two of my videos on YouTube. The first is titled: Meet Your Needs. And the second is titled: Dependence vs. Independence.
People love to cover over and justify what we do not want to change. Religions have been doing this forever. If we want women to be controlled, let’s just tell a spiritual story that justifies why she should be. If we want a man to stop doing something, let’s just tell a story about what horrible consequence awaits him after this life if he does. Today, the spiritual field uses ideologies to justify both polar beliefs of ‘I am responsible for how everyone feels’ and ‘I am not responsible for how anyone else feels’. That doesn’t mean that either is the complete truth.
What if you could choose to be responsible for making yourself feel better because that felt empowering? What if at the same time, there were people who would want to be responsible for making you feel better and you could choose to let them take that responsibility because it made you feel more free to let them do that? What if either option could be in alignment with your growth path at a certain time? What if it could be empowering for one person to let go of a responsibility and empowering for another person to take it? If you are in the place where empowerment is to take responsibility, watch my video titled: Responsibility (Why, When and How To Take It). And remember, sometimes owning your life means knowing what responsibilities to let go of.