One of the biggest causes of emotional heartache occurs when we confuse the boundaries of responsibility.

People are able beings. We are able to do things. Some of these are very personal things.

The 4 main abilities

What are your 4 main abilities?

1. Well you have the ability to speak.

2. You have the ability to think.

3. You have the ability to feel.

4. And you have the ability to behave.

Another way of looking at is, we ‘own’ our 4 abilities listed above. And by owning our abilities we also have responsibilities for the way we use our ability to speak, think, feel and behave.

Now when we use these 4 abilities, usually other people are involved.

We speak with other people.

Our thoughts can be about other people.

We can express our feelings to other people.

Our behaviours can affect other people.

Being a good and kind person means we have a responsibility to treat others well and not harm others.

What this means is that we are responsible to other people for the way we speak, think, emote and behave.

Notice I wrote responsible to others.

Other people have the same abilities

Just like you and I have the ability to think, emote, speak and behave; so does everyone else in this world.

And by having these abilities, they are also responsible to other people for how they use them.

What you are not

Wait for it, because it is now when I might say a few things, which might sound a little confusing. Before you continue reading, the following is based upon adults interacting with each other, and is based on the assumption that you haven’t intentionally hurt anyone, or done anything wrong.

You are not responsible for other people’s thoughts.

Neither are you responsible for their feelings.

You’re not responsible for the way they speak.

Neither are you responsible for how they behave.

Only they can ultimately be responsible for such things.

What happens when you believe you are responsible?

Let’s take an example.

Say you attend a family social gathering and a relative is in a foul mood and is acting unfriendly towards you. You then take this personally and believe it is you who caused this relative to act this way.

By doing this, you are taking on your relative’s thoughts. You are letting his foul mood cause you to feel bad about yourself and blame yourself.

Here’s another example.

You share your opinion on a topic with another person and the other person becomes very angry at your view and tells you how you’re wrong and how her way is right.

You then feel guilty and angry at yourself for upsetting this person.

By doing this you are taking someone else’s anger and applying it yourself. Even worse, you’re adding guilt to it.

Why is doing such things toxic?

Well, as I said earlier in the post, each of us is responsible for the way we talk, think, feel and behave (our 4 abilities).

If we believe we are responsible for other’s 4 abilities, then we give our personal powers away. We allow other people’s thoughts and feelings to take over us. Just as worse, we don’t allow others to have their own 4 abilities without us hijacking them.

What does this mean?

It means you are already empowered.

How can you demonstrate your empowerment?

By understanding people will always say, think, behave and express emotions towards us. However, how we choose to react is up to us. You can react, internalise what others have communicated to you and feel bad.

Alternatively, you can exercise your power of choice and choose to stay empowered and grounded, by allowing others to be them, have their views and opinions, without it affecting your state.

You do this by allowing them to express their 4 abilities and be responsible for them.

And you give yourself permission to use your 4 abilities too.

By doing this, you take control of your ability to think, behave, emote and speak.

Now, that is a powerful way to live your life, wouldn’t you agree?

My friends, it’s over to you:

  • In what ways have you taken on the responsibility for other people’s thoughts, feelings, actions and speaking?
  • What did you do to take back responsibility of your own 4 abilities?
  • Please share you thoughts and views in the comment box below.
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Photo Credit: Manitoba Historical Maps