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Helping Others Can Hurt You 

12 Simple Tips to Handcuff Over-responsibility And Set yourself free for life!

Do you worry constantly about disappointing people?

Does over-responsibility make you fearful about causing people in your life harm directly or indirectly?

You see, over-responsibility takes advantage of the belief that "you are always responsible or accountable for the outcome of your actions.”

And whilst this is true to some extent... The over-responsibility problem has a strange way of blurring the line between what you are responsible for and what other people in your life should be responsible for.

The results in a massive guilt complex...

Tell-tale Signs that you've got the over-responsibility bug?

You've got the over-responsibility problem if...

  • You frequently take on more than your fair share at work because you are anxious to say no and disappoint your boss. 
  • You over exhaust yourself at home because taking a break means you cannot sort things out in time for the kids to get home. You fear letting the kids down.
  • You feel too guilty to delegate house chores to your spouse partner or children and instead, do everything by yourself.
  • You make excuses for your spouse not doing chores.
  • You always worry that you might have offended somebody by mistake. 
  • You avoid people because you believe that you have a negative effect on them. 
  • You pay for everything including dinner out even though others are willing to contribute.
  • You feel painfully guilty when you are with your friends instead of your boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • You spend so much time helping other people with their problems whilst neglecting your own needs and problems. 

But why are you so over-responsible anyway?

Over-responsibility may have resulted from being blamed for a lot of things whilst growing up. It could also come from an experience of growing up too quickly due to family members needing to rely a lot on you at a very early age. Because there was no one was there to take on the parental role for you when you were a child.

You had no choice but to the on the responsible hat and become dad and mum for everyone. Sometimes even for your parents too.

Bottom line: Over-responsibility pressurizes you to take on more than you are responsible for because it has been ingrained in you through years of habit. But now it has become the thief stealing the energy and joy away from your life.

How can you break free of the over-responsibility chains, when you can't stop believing at your core that you should take care of everyone and everything, and never let anyone or anything suffer.

What do you do when the guilt becomes excessive and intense that it makes your body hurt so badly?

In this article, I'm going to reveal why “over-responsibility” becomes a trap for most people... and 12 simple tips to easily avoid this trap.

Before I do that though...

First a few questions.

How can over-responsibility cause extreme anxiety problems?

Worry can be a beast to overcome on its own, but when you have worry held together by over-responsibility, worry becomes a hundred times difficult to beat.

With over-responsibility, you are indirectly on the watch for your action or inaction to cause harm to people around you. As such NOT WORRYING can seem like you are stripping people off their shields and protective amour leaving them bare-chested at the mercy of arrows showering down on them.

That’s why it is so hard to let go of worrying as it gives a false sense that you are doing something to help or prevent harm.

The worry gets worse. because the more you take on other people’s responsibilities, the more you will naturally feel out of control and anxious. The fear of letting people down becomes a constant strain on your mind.

How does over-responsibility tip you into a life of depression?

Excessive over-commitment sets you up for a life of misery, low energy levels, and feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted. This will make it nearly impossible for you to have the happy, healthy, and fulfilled life you want.

Over-responsibility makes it difficult for you to cope with life's stresses and often leads to feelings of guilt and shame. This can cause a vicious cycle of failure and unhappiness.

 To make matters worse, over-responsibility makes you feel guilty for spending time on yourself, as such the inability to enjoy things can become a major trigger for depression.

Why is over-responsibility a massive culprit for chronic fatigue syndrome?

Over-responsibility locks you in a cycle of exhaustion and self-blame. The more exhausted you get, the more likely you are to do something irresponsible. This then causes you to blame yourself more... And on and on it goes.

Over-responsibility robs you of your quality of life and makes you feel trapped and suffocated. When you are over-responsible, you are putting more value on what other people think of you than on your own contentment.

You end overburdened and this drains them of their vital energy. They become responsible for the well-being of others while trying to care for themselves. This creates unbearable stress on their immune and nervous systems.

With that said, let's dig into the solutions to this painful problem. Here are...

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12 Simple Tips to Handcuff Over-responsibility... Set yourself free for life!

  1. Train your instincts to know when you must say yes to demands from others.
    The instincts that help you make wise choices are developed by repeating choices in life over and over. The choices you repeat most often become habits.

    These habits bring you closer to living in accord with your true nature. As you become more aware of your true nature, you can then begin to trust your instincts more often. So habitually practice saying yes to what gives you energy, health, and vitality. Say no to what drains you. Say yes to people who lift you up, and say no to those who drag you down.

  2. Reduce trying to be responsible for other people’s happiness.
    It is not your job nor your duty. It is just another responsibility that makes you feel even more stressed out and burdened.

    Practice worrying less about other people's reactions to your efforts. Flip this around and start worrying more about your reactions to their efforts. Actually, create an obsession out of finding ways to make your life better.

  3. Find a trusted friend or relative who will hold you accountable for looking after yourself
    You need someone to keep you on track who is non-judgmental, has your best interests at heart, and will not allow you to shirk your responsibilities. But will also call you up when you are sacrificing your time way too much.

    Remember that because this is what you do, so you most likely won't realize when you have shifted into the "over helping people mode". 

    So ask this person to visit you twice a month for six months. And ask him/her to keep a written record of your "helping" activities. (This will give you an objective look at your lifestyle and habits.) 
  4. Set real and reasonable goals for yourself
    Set realistic goals that are based on your true abilities and not what others (including yourself) think you should be able to do.

    Don't let other people's opinions stop you from reaching your full potential.  Setting very high and unrealistic goals for yourself may initially give you a positive and false sense of success.

    This may keep you going for a while. But sooner or later, it will cause you to crash and burn. 
  5. If you don’t have time to do it right now, you will do it later– it’s not an excuse.
    If you don’t have time to help your friend right now, tell her you will do it later. This is not an excuse, It's just a fact. Life is short. There is so much to do and so little time to do it. If your friends really care about you, they will understand and accept this.

  6. Practice balancing your expectations on others.
    True,  expectations can create unnecessary stress. This is not about putting unnecessary pressure on yourself or others.

    However, If you have a certain level of expectations from yourself, It's ok to have similar levels of expectations for others. If you expect yourself to be a loving support to others, it is ok to expect some people you love and support to be willing to support you back. 

  7. Occasionally practice doing the least amount possible that you can do for others...
    This way you will be free to say yes to things that are really important.  You can avoid getting so hemmed in by obligations that won't have any energy or enthusiasm to do what it is you really important to you and anyone you're responsible for.

  8. Set goals that regularly require people in your life to support you.
     You must create an environment where people in your life have no choice but to support you occasionally.

    This will go against your grain, but by doing this you safeguard yourself from gathering only users and abusers as the only friends in your life. So practice making choices that do not put too much of the responsibility to get things done on yourself. this will make you learn to ask for help when you need it.

  9. Pay attention to your feelings too–
    You will often ignore things that make you uncomfortable for an extremely long time before you address them if you are over-responsible. Your feelings are the "red flags" that alert you to problems before they spiral out of control and cause you a great deal of suffering. 

  10. Develop a strong support network for yourself
    It is essential to have a strong support network of friends and family who care about you and will be there for you when times are tough. This includes your business associates, trusted advisors, lovers, and those you're closest to. Your goal is to have as many people as possible. This way you don't need to lean too much on any one person and overwhelm them.

  11. Let go of people and things that don’t serve you well
    Practice letting go of people and things that drain your energy and hold you back such as negative people, bad habits, addictions, toxic people, unhealthy relationships, and things you no longer believe in or care about.

    Remove the negative influences from your life so you can have more positive ones. But how do you do this?  Ironically, just by spending more time with the people and things that energize you, you naturally let go of the negatives from your life. 
  12. Learn to share the blame with others
    You must learn to accept that other people have some responsibility for things that don't go well in your life. Avoiding sharing blame with others, especially when you're always prone to taking 100% of the blame keeps you locked in your misery. You need to face up to the reality that you are not the only one responsible for all the problems going on around you.

But Over-responsibility can't always be that bad?

Yes, it's a mistake to think that over-responsibility is always a bad thing... like it is a sign of weak character... That being too responsible will leave you a nervous wreck.

Used right, being over-responsible teaches you to accept consequences rather than blame others. It can give you the self-respect to stand up for yourself when you need to. It forces you to do what needs to be done on time. It teaches you to plan ahead. It helps you become a goal-oriented person.

 The problem occurs when you become so responsible that you end up smothering yourself with too much concern. You lose sight of the fact that life is also about enjoying yourself, having some fun, making mistakes, and moving on.

To prevent this, as over-responsibility tries to bury you alive under that pile of dirty laundry of other people's problems.

Remember that you can’t do it all. It is an illusion to think you can.

Even if you're the most organized person in the world. Things will still get too much. That’s part of life. Don’t be afraid of disappointing.

Embrace it.

Learn from it.

Move on.

Use the 12 tips in this article to create the best possible conditions for experiencing a purpose-filled life.

Written by Adewale Ademuyiwa
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