We’ve all heard it: “You’re 100% responsible for yourself.”
And while that’s true, to a certain extent, that advice gets taken out of context.
We are told to shut out people we love when they are doing things that we do not like.
While I appreciate boundaries as much as anyone, we start to step into dangerous ground with this kind of thinking, running the risk of imprisoning ourselves in silos when we sometimes need each other the most.
One of my heros, Dr. Sue Johnson, has said “there is no such thing as co-dependency, there is only effective and ineffective dependency.”
As much as the glories of independence and autonomy are touted about, we are simply not made to be independent.
So the thinking and advice along the lines of, “set your boundaries, limit your time with that person, and move on,” can be simplistic at best and often quite damaging.
Of course it works well with strangers who may appear to be thorns in your side on the internet, but it can be a superficial way of handling a problem that is a bit more complex.
I have come across this “take care of it myself” ideology as a problem working with couples.
They say, “I need to work on me, you need to work on you, we just need to be separate.”
That may feel like it’s the only way to figure things out, but it can also be the SLOW road to figuring things out.
When you can work on the issues alongside each other with someone who knows how to help you, you can make faster, longer lasting and more effective progress.
The best work on yourself is done in a context in which you are unable to hide from certain aspects of yourself – which is why relationships and businesses can be such powerful teachers.
I have also come across this “take care of it yourself” mentality in the coaching sphere.
I agree that clients are responsible for their own success, but as coaches, healers, teachers and therapists, we have responsibility as well. A tremendous one.
Unfortunately, I have seen this mentality that “you are 100% responsible for yourself” taken too far.
While it’s true that you can lead a horse to water but cannot force him to drink it, for coaching, therapy or healing to work, you’ve got to at least be with the horse and have a pretty good idea of where the water is, or at least have the ability to help that horse discover his own path to the water.
The same coach that might advise you to cut someone out of your life or turn your back on a difficult person or relationship might be the same one who does not necessarily own up to his or her own responsibility to others, including you.
I understand that cutting ties can be liberating, healing and often necessary. Not nearly as often necessary, however, as I see this advice being advocated, particularly when this advice becomes someone’s modus operandi.
I do think that the real healing occurs, however, when we recognize what the dramatic cutting of ties is all about, and it’s usually something within us that we’re unable or unwilling to look at.
This shirking of responsibility to each other is a reflection of a bigger problem that we have.
It is a symptom of a broken system, based on objectivism and the Cartesian construction of the world as a machine.
The world is so much more than a machine.
You are so much more than a piece of that machine, as are the people you love, even when they drive you crazy.
We are all connected, and as soon as we start taking responsibility for each other along with ourselves, we will all flourish that much more.
What can you do today to be more effectively dependable?
Let me know your thoughts below.
Cheers to thriving in business and love,