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Care without Carrying

Have you ever found yourself taking care of everything? Solving the problems, checking the list, resolving the squabbles, making everything okay for everybody? Did it serve you well? Probably not. Many of us have a desire to help others to the point that we are exhausted. If that sounds like you, it may be time for a change.

This suggestion for change, however, doesn't mean to tune out. For example, to embrace the phrase "not my circus, not my monkeys" also doesn't quite work - because the monkeys tend to run amuck despite our desire to ignore them. It also might disengage us from situations where we may need to stay tuned in. It is an "all or nothing approach" that sets us up for failure and fatigue.

Something I have been working on this year is realizing you can care without carrying. I think so many of us have had compassion fatigue in the last few years, and as humans we tend to think in extremes. We forget that we can deeply care for others without carrying the emotion of everyone else. This is a subtle but worthwhile distinction.

While we greatly need more caring people in the world, we can also feel more focused, less overwhelmed, and more centered when we know where we are truly needed and can make a difference. Asking the question, "does this belong to me?" is a good place to start. Is this a situation I need to pick up and handle? Or, can I let the co-workers work it out? Can I let the children iron out their differences? Does this need my action, my ears, or nothing?

This week, see if you can practice care without carrying.

Not getting pulled into someone else's fire drill is the most important internal boundary you can set for yourself.

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