“That’s Not My Baby” ~ Shying Away from Being Responsible

shutterstock_187462538 baby with arms up toward leftMost of us have had the experience of not wanting to take responsibility for an issue or area of our life. This reluctance can show up as denial, procrastination or avoidance with following through with tasks.

Our reluctance to deal with a situation can have it’s root in several places, including:

  • fear of increased pressure and unmeetable expectations,
  • thinking that we’re not capable of handling it,
  • fear of giving something up to make the changes we think would be required to address the issue,
  • rebelling against responsibility because we took on too much responsibility as children,
  • telling ourselves that it’s someone else’s problem to fix or not a problem at all, or
  • just straight up not wanting to deal with it.

Dreams will sometimes urge us to take responsibility for a part of life.
Your Higher Self communicates to you each night through your dreams. The primary dream symbol indicating this would be dreaming of a baby (not being pregnant, giving birth, or young children — those have a different meaning). Often times dreams like this feature a baby that is “not our baby,” just to highlight the fact that we aren’t currently taking responsibility for it.

Is there something in your life that you’re not attending to right now? Here’s a process that can help.

Notice what you’re saying to yourself about being responsible. Usually there is a story or belief sitting just below our conscious awareness about what being responsible means for us, about us, and regarding other’s expectations for us.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen right now and give yourself 3-5 minutes to write. Do your best to keep the pen moving, even if it means repeating what you just wrote. Begin your writing with “Being responsible for this means that…”

What did you discover as you did the writing exercise?

Reflecting on what you wrote, ask yourself “Is that really true?” Is it really true if I do this well one time that I should be able to do it well from now on? Is it really true that if I take responsibility for this, I’m letting someone else off the hook for their part in it? Is it really true that I can’t handle it?

As you question your beliefs about responsibility, see if you can identify the actual facts of the situation. What is the cost to you of *not* taking responsibility for this issue or area of your life?

What would being responsible look like in this situation? What might be a small step you could take toward it?

There are times when taking responsibility brings up fear or the feeling of being overwhelmed. Bring your focus of attention to the very next step. If you find yourself generalizing about what taking responsibility means for the future or thinking of all the steps involved, return your focus to today, right now.

I’ll leave you with a poem from David Whyte, below.
With love,

Start Close In 
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To hear
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

~David Whyte, River Flow: New and Selected Poems