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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Wreyford

Today's Tough Love: We are responsible *to* people, not *for* them

We are responsible TO people, but not FOR them.

What does this mean?

Just like “It’s never about you”, this creates the important distinction on where you stop and someone else begins.

You are responsible to people in:

➡️ Communicating what’s true for you with as little unnecessary explanation as possible

➡️ Communicating in a kind and loving, but firm, way

You are NOT responsible for:

➡️ How they receive/internalize the information

➡️ How they react

➡️ How they will feel and their emotions about it

I’ll use an example to further illustrate this one:

I have coached many clients through their desire to end a romantic relationship, who come to me in sheer paralysis because they don’t want to hurt the other person…but they also know the relationship isn’t right for them.

I typically congratulate them on not being a psychopath/sociopath because they don’t want to actively hurt another human.

Will their partner feel pain? Will they even be shocked by the news? Will they be sad, angry, any number of other emotions? Yes, those are all possibilities.

And none of those are reasons to stay in a relationship you know is past its expiration date.

Most people avoid having the hard conversation, struggle with not wanting to be in the relationship, continue to battle with themselves over not wanting to hurt the person but also not wanting to be there….and then end up doing something, usually unconsciously, that will bring the relationship to an end - either abruptly (cheating) or a slow death over time (pulling away, disconnecting, etc.). It would have been harder up front to have the tough conversation. Yes, there would have been pain. But there is more pain in the long run by NOT having that hard conversation.

You can’t spare people from their emotions. They will feel how they feel, and they will have their own process with their hurt and pain. That part is “not about you”. It’s much kinder to communicate the truth and set both of you free.

You are responsible TO people, not for them.

Have Courage and Sparkle On 💖


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