June 18, 2024

There is a significant difference between being responsible to people and for them. Being responsible for people is when you feel responsible for another’s outcomes, pain, failure, feelings, problems, struggles, adversity, and need satisfaction – as well as their success, joy, achievements and growth.

Being responsible to people means that you know that what they are experiencing in life – whether struggle or victory, pain or success, growth or stagnation – is what they have brought into their life to move to a higher plane. You are there, you care, and you are interested, but it is their stuff not yours. A great line I recently came across is, “Seeing yourself as a victim is to wish your circumstances to continue.”

Everyone moves through life with his own personal baggage, stuff and personal lessons to learn. To be responsible to people is to not attempt to interfere with what they need to learn so they can move on. To be responsible for people helps keep them stuck.

Women, mothers, tend to take the responsibility for their children and their issues, while fathers tend to take a responsibility to them.

I recall a recent conversation with my folks a few years back. I was having a difficult year. You know, the recession and all. Well, on a routine call to say hi, when my mom asked how I was doing, I said that business was really tough and I didn’t know if I would survive. Her response, “Where did I go wrong?” (Taking responsibility for me and my stuff.) When I asked to speak with my dad, and he asked the same question, I gave him a similar response and he said, “Better get your butt out there and hustle.” (Responsible to me.)

Who do you feel responsible for in your life? To?

Another example is the difference between empathy and sympathy. When you sympathize you feel sorry for. When you empathize, you understand how the person feels, but you don’ get down there in the stuff with them. Empathy helps people grow, while sympathy helps keep people stuck. Another way of saying this is the difference between detachment and disengagement. Your turn. What is the difference between these two concepts to you?

Responsible to is love in action. Responsible for is emotional manipulation.