Just a reminder: you are not responsible for other people's feelings. Or for fixing other people. Or for making sure they live their best lives. Or making them happy. Those things are their job. We are all responsible for ourselves, people!
I suffer from this disease just like most (okay, all) of my coaching clients. Today I was inspired to write about this subject again because it's come up twice this week alone, with two different people I'm coaching.
One of my clients is a man in his 30's who is somewhat recently divorced. He'd like to get back out there in the dating world, but is really, really stuck on the idea that he must never, ever do anything to hurt any woman he dates. I laughed out loud when he told me this gem! (Don't worry, he took that well.) There is absolutely no way on God's green earth you're going to be able to be in any relationship, especially a romance, where the other person isn't going to get hurt. Unless the other person is Jesus. Or Buddha. Or Mother Theresa.
Seriously, you could forget that it was your girlfriend's cat's birthday and she could be hurt, or you could tell your boyfriend you didn't like his shirt and he could take it personally. Your only job in the relationship is to set boundaries for yourself, respect your partner's boundaries, and work on improving YOU. Be kind, be gentle, compromise, be understanding, but remember, you love and take care of yourself first and foremost.
My client argues with me on that last point, fearing that if he cares for himself first he'll become cold and callous, leaving broken hearts strewn about the highways and byways across the nation. I disagree. If he fills himself up with love and sets good boundaries, he won't hurt another person intentionally; he'll be too filled up with love for himself and his partner for that to happen.
The other situation where this came up this week was slightly different. One of my other clients, a wonderful woman who is around 50, would like to close down her business. In fact, the thought of keeping it open makes her feel like she's is being choked. However, her mind keeps telling her things like, "I have to stay open, these people need me" and "I can't close down, I'll let people down". Yikes!
I asked her why she thought these people needed her, and she said "because the Universe brought them to me, and I've been working with some of them for almost ten years." Like me, she's a big believer in the Law of Attraction and the idea that the Universe will bring you what you attract, so I asked her if she thought she was the only person the Universe would ever provide to these clients of hers, the only person who could help them in the whole wide world. When she looked at it that way, it became clear to her that her worries were silly, she was trying to play God, and trying to take responsibility for these people's lives, when they are in charge of their own destinies.
I also asked her if she saw that her staying in this career, where her energy is being drained, is going to do more harm, not good, for her clients. Her energy will be much better used in a new career where she feels alive and like the Universe is on her side. She completely agreed. By the end of the session she saw clearly how she was trying to make all of her clients happy, and the guilt she felt about leaving them was the only thing keeping her in her business. I now have the confidence that she'll face her fears about being responsible for her clients and the outcome of their lives head on and will be doing something new and wonderful by the end of the summer.
Are you taking responsibility for making someone else happy? How about, just for today, you practice only taking responsibility for yourself and your feelings, and see how it feels!