Hello to the Best Steady Eddies, the Most Consistent and Persistent, and the Earth’s Saltiest people. I love ya! Today, I’m talking to the Ever Readies. The Go Bot Girls. The Over Achievers. And the Over Functioning Super Heros.
Have you ever felt so overly responsible for something, that it stressed you out? Maybe you were leading a team, or facilitating a bible study or parenting a screaming toddler. Whatever it was, you felt like the thing began and ended with you, and you were the one responsible for its success or failure.
Feeling responsible isn’t bad. It’s actually a good motivator. However, feeling OVERLY responsible can be bad for you and bad for the people around you.
What Is Over Responsibility?
Feeling overly responsible means that you think it’s your job to take care of other people’s jobs. You think it’s your job to make others perform, make others happy, make others behave, make others conform, and make others pleased with you. You feel a compulsion to live up to unattainable standards of perfection. You feel like it’s all up to you or it won’t get done. You often feel in a lose-lose battle. What should feel like a privilege, turns into a burden. You feel like you are working harder than the rest of your group, family, or team, and that they just don’t understand the amount of pressure you’re under. You absorb and take on others’ feelings and expectations.
The Danger of Over Responsibility is…
People start to sense that you are stressed and angry all the time. They feel a bit demeaned and belittled that you don’t trust them to make good choices. People feel less than important to you. You end up doing your job, and other people’s jobs too. You end up frazzled, stressed out, sick and burned out. Your every action to over-function is met with others’ equal reaction to under-function. Your over-responsibility results in others’ under-responsibility.
What Over Responsibility Looks Like on the Outside…
You feel unappreciated, over worked, and underpaid. You feel like no one else works as hard as you. You feel bitter at the others’ carefree attitudes, and they get to enjoy the fruits of your labors. You feel self-pity. You may say to yourself, “I have to do everything around here” or “Leaders get the short end of the stick,” or “People are selfish!” You may feel angry that other people are “ruining” your efforts.
What Over Responsibility Feels Like on the Inside…
For me, I start to feel panicky inside. I start to sense that things are spinning ever so slightly out of my control, and that if I let go of my tight grip, a crash is sure to happen. If I were to sum it up with a couple of words of what Over Responsibility feels like to me, it would be sheer terror. terror that this good thing will slip away. Terror that I’ll be blamed for a failure. Terror that the shame of my mistakes my overwhelm me and leave me abandoned. Terror that God will be disappointed in me.
Rationally, I know the things that frighten me will not come true, but terror is irrational, and before I can act according to rationality, I’ve already succumbed to my terror.
What to do When you find yourself in the VORTEX of Over Responsibility
- Breath and realize you are over-functioning
- Realize you are over functioning because you care. That’s good. But, turn that care toward yourself. Care enough about yourself to step back, let others have their feelings, do their part, and make their choices.
- Apologize quickly to the people you barked at, snarked at, or tried to control.
- Let go. Let go. Let go. Let the hell go. It’s going to be fine without your iron grip.
- Don’t rehearse in your head 100 times what you did or said wrong. Remember, you feel over-responsible for being overly responsible, so forgive yourself and move on quickly. All great people make mistakes, and they learn how to recover from them quickly.
- Tell somebody how you feel and get some support. You’ll feel better when you realize that a lot of people just like you get it,
You are a high achiever, a high performing leader, a Go-Bot, Ever Ready, Risk Taker. You’re the kid who sits in the front row. You’re the one with the high goals and big dreams. The activities you engage in are important. You are called by God to lead that team, to facilitate that bible study, to parent that child and to lead that organization. But you don’t have to run yourself in the ground to get it done. When you sense yourself feeling overly responsible, know that you’ve just stepped outside of God’s rest. Step right back into God’s rest by letting go of the things that ARE and SHOULD be out of your control. Those things are for God to handle, and not for you.
Cheers to you, and all your relationships!
Love this, Michelle! Totally relearning all of this for the zillionth time, and this is a great and encouraging article that I totally needed to hear! 🙂