To start off with:feeling respon 2013-11-04 17.59.58 sible is not a feeling. This might surprise you because “feeling responsible” feels like a real feeling. Yet, when we examine it carefully, this feeling is made up of two parts: -the thought: “I think I am responsible.”

  • -a feeling: pressure, anxiety,stress, excessive demand, sadness.

I am not a person who usually splits hairs, but in this case, this is important to me. This differentiation can open the door to freedom. When we realize, “I think I am responsible,” we can critically evaluate:

  • Am I actually responsible?
  • To what extent am I responsible?
  • Do I want to be responsible?
  • Who else is responsible?

This alone can take the pressure off. There are situations in which we are actually responsible. For example, parents are responsible for their children: more when they are small and less the more they grow. But what is with the feelings that we feel? In most cases, the “feeling” of responsibility is nothing more than empathy and resonance bound with sadness. We sense that the other person isn’t well. We feel it with them, and we have our own feelings about it as well: sadness, helplessness, pressure, or something similar (depending on the situation and thought patterns.). We then call this thought-feeling-conglomeration and hodge-podge “I feel responsible.” What can we do? In my opinion, adults carry the responsibility for their own lives themselves. I can’t and don’t have to carry the responsibility for anyone who is an adult. It is their responsibility. At the most, I can take partial responsibility – during a coaching session, I have the responsibility to create a good process. As a publisher, I have the responsibility to train my employees well, etc. Once in a while, it happens anyway that I “feel responsible.” A good friend is stressed; I perceive this and think that I have to help him. A good friend isn’t doing well; I slide into feeling responsible. When I notice myself doing this, I always do two things internally:

  • consider if and in which forms I would like to support the person and communicate this to him or her
  • say inside: “I put the responsibility for your life back into your hands.”

My friend, Rosemarie, recommended a third sentence that I find wonderful:

  • “I bless you that you can carry the responsibility well.”

I especially like this third step. I can and may bless, which strengthens and supports others in their ability to master their lives. I find this relieving and exhilarating. By the way, the photograph above is two barges from an aerial view. It is good when a barge only carries its own burden; otherwise, it would sink. – See more at: