Responsibility can feel like a big and scary thing sometimes right. It feels like heaviness. We often talk about the “weight” of responsibility, right? It is a pretty apt description.
It feels like something that we should avoid.
When we have a lot of responsibility, we feel like we are in charge of certain outcomes. People are depending on us. Our brains like to tell us that we should absolutely stay as far away from that as possible, right?
May be you feel that weight of responsibility when you get married or have children. We also feel it when we accept a new job, or church assignment. We may not even really understand what the expectations are, which makes that responsibility feel even scarier.
I’ve noticed this with my kids. Particularly my oldest son. He is 13 as I write this and he really want an iPhone. Now my husband and I have decided on certain guidelines that need to be in place before we will get our kids a phone of their own, and my son hasn’t met those guidelines yet. One of those things is that he needs to show us that he can be responsible.
An iPhone has a lot of power. My husband and I feel strongly that before he can get a phone, he needs to have a fairly established track record of responsibility in smaller, less powerful things.
Even though my son really wants the rewards, he doesn’t not, at this point, want the responsibility associated with it.
I notice as I meet with my clients and women how come to a free session, that we tend to want to have the rewards, without the responsibility.
I have talked to several women recently have have had very similar thoughts.
“I want my husband to value my opinion.”
This sounds like a really good thing. Like, of course you want to have your husband value your opinion. If he were a good husband, who loved me, he would naturally value my opinion. Maybe he doesn’t really love me as much as he should.
This is what the thought pattern usually to looks like. Does this sound familiar?
I’ll admit, I have spent a lot of years in my marriage believing thoughts exactly like this.
But the truth is, this kind of thinking is wanting the rewards without accepting the responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and results.
We really want this to be a husband issue, right? We want it to be all about him. He isn’t listening to me. He doesn’t value me. I’m not valued because he isn’t being a good husband.
What if that isn’t true?
When I was getting lost in these kinds of thoughts, I felt like the victim. I felt like I was being wronged and that it wasn’t unfair. And when I feel like a victim, I act in. I tend to sulk, feel sorry for myself, ruminate, have arguments with him in my head, overanalyze, and get really passive aggressive.
The problem isn’t that I think he isn’t valuing my opinions. The problem is that I am not hauling my opinions enough to actively fight for them. I think that in order for them to be valued, he needs to think that they are. But how in the world is he supposed to value my opinions, if I don’t even value them?
I am trying to pass on the responsibility of the validity of my opinions to someone who doesn’t get any reward for that responsibility. I’m the only who is in that position.
When we take back the responsibility and start valuing our own opinions in marriage, we give our spouse permission to do the same. It can’t go the other way around. He can’t give us permission to value our opinions because it isn’t his responsibility.
It is the most empowering thing in the world. And empowerment feels amazing. Way better than an iPhone.
Give it a try. Next time you find yourself feeling this way, ask yourself “What am I not taking responsibility for?” And see what happens.
If you need help seeing your thoughts, feelings and results a little more clearly, click the button below for a free coaching session. I can help you start to step back and see the results that your thoughts are creating for you right now, and how to change it so you can start feeling better.