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My Assignment ... If You Didn't Create It, Then It's Not Yours!

 by: Edward B. Toupin

Life consists of lessons. Living is continual learning. Therefore, if you take on someone else's issues and responsibilities, or lessons, would that not be classified as cheating? Are you not cheating yourself out of your own life? Are you not cheating others out of their own lessons?

At one time or another, we all get involved with someone else's issues. These issues can include family issues, life change, minimal conundrums, or anything that can somehow challenge the foundations and beliefs of an individual. However, we must be able to identify when we are providing assistance and when we are accepting responsibility for someone else.

--- Helping vs. Hindering ---

Of course, there are times when it is essential, for our well-being and for those we love, that we must set aside our own lives to ensure the comfort of a loved one. In this situation, for example, I am speaking of a loved one who is incapable of caring for themselves. In these cases, it is our desire and obligation as human beings to be there and care for them as we are not only helping our loved ones, but we are also growing within ourselves.

However, there is a limit that we, as humans, are expected to give up our lives and directions for another. These cases primarily involve the absorption of responsibility for another person who is unwilling to take care of their own issues. It is in such a situation that we must all learn how to back away and allow the others to handle their own problems and learn their own lessons.

--- Please do this for me!!! ---

It is a natural human response to lend a hand to someone in need. It is fulfilling to know that you are helping someone, especially if you've been through a similar situation and you know all of the answers.

But, do you really know all of the answers? You may have experienced a similar situation; however, your perspective and, therefore, your lessons were different. By taking on the issue for yourself and solving the problems of others, you are actually robbing them of lessons that they need to learn for themselves and grow in their own way.

Also, realize that people live their own karma. When they are experiencing various issues in their lives, they are more than happy to include others into the drama or give the issue to someone else to handle. This is because they are walking into an area of the unknown outside of their safety zone. By taking responsibility to resolve their issues for them, you are also accepting responsibility for the success or failure of the issue. Over time you will lose yourself in the expectations of others and eventually become the whipping post for everyone that knows that you will do the 'dirty work' for them.

Finally, you're giving up a time of your own life to deal with someone else's issues when, in fact, you could be using that time to move forward in your own life. But, in many cases, people take over other people's issues when they feel the need to become emotionally stimulated and there isn't enough going on in their own life to stimulate themselves. Perhaps you need more involvement in things that make a difference in your own life. Such stimulation can occur through setting a plan and having a vision set for your life. Without one, we seek out other forms of stimulation to fill the voids in our own lives.

I'm not saying that you should ignore the needs of others on this planet. Such a view would be arrogant, harsh, and inhumane. You should always be aware of the needs of others. However, 'being aware of' and 'being responsible for' the needs of others are two completely different things. It is important to respect the needs of others and allow them the opportunity to fulfill their needs. However, you cannot take responsibility for anyone else's needs. If they are capable of handling their own lives, then they should take the reins and do so.

--- It's all your fault!!! ---

You have to realize that, if someone else makes an error and throws it into your court, they are expecting you to handle it. Many times, people will blame you for their own issues, also known as 'projection', because they don't know how to handle them. But, your best approach is simply to 'throw it back'. It is actually their own responsibility to resolve the issues and your responsibility is merely to watch your own area of influence and ensure that their issue does not affect you.

With such situations, don't fall into 'playing games', which can last for weeks, months, and even years. By toying with games, you're literally wasting your time with someone else's issues while you could be focusing on things of importance to your own life. Ignoring their claims will only create more turmoil on their side that they will have to eventually handle. Consider it a form of voodoo. If you don't believe it in, it can't harm you.

If you see this person as a friend, and you lose this person as a friend because of the situation, then so be it. There's more to life than being drug into a hole because of someone else's inability to handle their own issues. Allow them a chance to learn on their own. Not only will they be a better person for it, but you will be a better friend in the long run.

--- How do I know the difference? ---

If you allow other's issues, whether they affect you or not, to engulf your life, then you are allowing your life to be controlled by other people and situations. Eventually, your life will belong to everyone else and you can no longer move forward to your own vision because your life is cluttered with everyone else's issues. You must learn to evaluate the issues and learn, more importantly, how to be human without providing your soul as a door mat.

One of the side effects of taking on the world's issues is that many people can eventually feel as though they are overwhelmed, beaten, or carrying a huge load on their shoulders. Their 'load' comes from taking on too many unnecessary issues that actually belong to someone else just to fill in the voids in their own lives.

The best way to determine if you are busily taking on the world's problems and not focusing on your own life is to make a list of the many issues with which you are faced at this moment in time. For each issue note:

  1. Where did this issue come from?

    Was it you or someone else that initiated the issue? You need to figure out whom or what actually started the issue and what made it seem of importance to you in your life. If it was initiated by someone else, why did you seem to find it important?

  2. What are the details of the issue?

    When examining their own issues, most people have no idea why they're even engaged in certain issues. It seems as though they know where it came from and they know where it's going, but they have no idea why they're even doing anything about the issue. If you don't know what the issue is about, then perhaps there is no real reason for the issue in the first place so, why are you dealing with it?

  3. How does the issue affect your life?

    If you can come up with at least five important aspects of your life affected by the issue in a positive way, then indeed, it is an important issue. But, if there are no real affects, then you need to reevaluate the situation. If a given issue does not directly affect your life and the quality thereof, then why are you dealing with the issue?

  4. What is the status of resolution for the issue?

    Does the issue seem to sag and hang without any real forward momentum? If you don't feel as though the issue is moving forward toward a resolution then you need to stop and see if indeed there is a viable resolution. Perhaps you've simply been caught in a vortex where one issue begets another and another and another. This is a situation where you are searching for problems to solve when, indeed, there are no 'real' problems. This is a common pitfall and one that you should simply step out of as, indeed, there is no resolution.

  5. Who is involved and how?

    Who is involved in the situation and why are they involved? Are you in control of the progress or is someone else 'managing' the issue and its progress? If someone else is 'managing' the progress, then shouldn't this other person be completely in control of the situation? Perhaps you should simply give them the issue to deal with on their own.

  6. What else could I be doing?

    If you're working with a situation that seems useless, then why are you doing it? If you're working to resolve a situation from the past so that you can feel better about yourself in the now, why not work on something that can benefit you in the now and make you feel better about yourself in the future? The past is gone, let it go. Shoot for the future!

  7. What is my ultimate vision in my life?

    Everyone must have a vision for their life. What's yours? If you have one, then how does this issue relate to the success of your attainment of this vision? If you don't have one, then you need to find out how this situation relates to your life and devise a vision for your life.

--- What's Next? ---

Stick to what's important and let the rest fall aside. There is no shame in dropping trivial situations that are of no use and are at a dead-end. Don't feel guilty about pushing other people's issues out of your life. You're not shirking responsibility. You're simply claiming your own life.

You have just as much right to live your life as everyone else. You will encounter issues that you must overcome just as everyone else will throughout their lives. But, while you're dealing with other people's problems, what are they doing? They're living their life because you were so kind to alleviate them of their pressures.

The point is that, if you're not careful, these issues can block your paths moving forward. Ultimately, you remain stuck in the past because you're unable to find a solution. Your best solution is to cut it out of your life and continue moving toward your vision. Make your own path, fix your own mistakes, and take responsibility for your own future. Not only will you find that the load slowly lifts from your back, but you'll see a much brighter future in a life that you own and control for yourself.

About The Author

Edward B. Toupin is a published author, technical writer, web developer, coach, and producer living in "The Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas, NV. One of his primary objectives in his work is to provide information to help others achieve fulfilling lives. Visit his site at http://www.make-life-great.com and http://www.toupin.com or contact him at etoupin@toupin.com or lifementor@toupin.com for more information.


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