If you were to ask any five people who have known me for a while what some of my best qualities are, I would bet that every one of them would have "responsible" somewhere on their list. I am the person who shows up early to church to make the coffee and set out the treats for coffee hour. I'm the person who volunteers to set up and tear down for meetings, programs, and parties. I am the first to volunteer for whatever the group is doing. In short, I see a need and I fill it.
This is certainly not anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it is commendable to be responsible in an age where so many people and institutions refuse to do so anymore if in fact they ever did. It is also a wonderful example to set for the younger generation ... except ...
...except when you let it take over your life. Somewhere along the line my sense of responsibility began to become obsessive. I started taking responsibility for everything without allowing anyone else to step up and do their share. My mothers words, "if you want something done right, do it yourself," became my mantra. And as everyone knows, the more you become Fallback Position #1, the more people will just assume that you'll keep being the one to do it all, and that not only keeps them from taking responsibility themselves but eventually wears yourself pretty thin.
The other day I had had enough. I totally refused to be responsible for anything. I stayed in my bathrobe all day. I left a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. I let the laundry go for another day (I live alone and figure as long as I have enough undies and outfits for four days of work and church on Sunday, I'm good). I put on Christmas music and dragged out the Christmas decorations. When people called me to see if I was available for this or that, I politely refused and told them that I was taking a Mental Health Day. I also advised them that I was confident in their talent and ability to do it on their own. I drank spiced tea and ate shortbread cookies and hugged a teddy bear. It was the best day ever.
Today I came across this post on my Facebook page. It was written by author and Angel Therapy guide Doreen Virtue:
1. Release the belief that you're responsible for everyone and everything.
2. Let go of perfection.
3. Ask for help and accept help from others.
4. Focus on what's important, and the rest of the day will take care of itself.
That sounds like a pretty good recipe for life to me. How about you?
And so it is.l