Now that's an empowering quote, isn't it? I talk about this with clients all the time, the idea of not minimizing the burden of responsibility, but being sure to look for the other side of the coin of the burden, the power and possibility of creating change for yourself.
As I talked about in the early post about DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), it's about looking for the dialectic, the feeling and its' opposite. In this situation, when you feel the burden of taking responsibility, first you give yourself the space to feel the feeling ("hmm, something's going on for me, let me pause and let myself feel it"), you name it (this is such an underestimated skill! Naming what we feel gives us the information we need to take action. "I'm feeling annoyed. Or tired. Or resentful. Or bored.") and then you validate it (another superpower skill. Not judging what we feel. Letting it be what it is.).
And once you've gotten clear about what you are feeling in this situation, then you look for its' opposite. What would be an opposite feeling of the burden of accepting responsibility in a situation? LOL, I just googled "opposite of being responsible" and the top entry is "you do what you like and don't care what happens afterward."
So the dialectic would be identifying both sides of what it means to accept responsibility, the annoyance, or boredom or resentment of it and also seeing the influence you have over the outcome when you choose (or don't choose) to accept responsibility. There is power and control that being responsible carries along with the burden. If I take responsibility for a choice, I can create a plan based on how it works best for me.
Let's use an everyday example of something I'm thinking of right now. It's time to think about dinner.
If I'm going to be responsible for preparing the meal, I feel the burden of that responsibility (I don't feel like cooking or thinking about what to fix or going to the store to get what I need to cook the meal. Get that part, yes?:-). So I take a moment to become aware of what I'm feeling, name the feelings and then validate those feelings in myself (yes, it *is* a hassle to do what needs to be done to have a nice meal.).
Now in this situation, I do care about the outcome (I'm hungry and I want to eat a healthy dinner) so the google entry about opposite (that I don't care about the outcome) doesn't really fit. So I look for another aspect of opposite, the power and control that accompanies the burden of cooking (well, if I'm the one who thinks about what to fix, and goes to the store and prepares the meal, I can have exactly the meal that I want, prepared the way that I like, with the ingredients that I like best.).
See? Now this doesn't magically mean that cooking is not a hassle, it just means that I'm in touch with both sides of the task, the burden of it, but also the power and control for the choice to be whatever works best for me.
So, that's all for now, I’ll leave you with this final quote and I’m off to get dinner ready. :-)
"How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself."
~Norman Vincent Peale~
My name is Carol J. Tadeusik. I am a licensed psychologist in Durham, North Carolina. I invite you to read my blog and get to know me and a bit about how I think. And by the way, I love comments!
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