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I'm a burden to others

In this video, Casey talks to a user from the Support Wall who is struggling with anxiety. Watch here:

Next Steps:

  1. Do you feel like a burden to others?
  2. How do you feel this way? What do others give you that you feel you don’t deserve - like time, or money, or something else?

Casey talks to the user and lets them know that this particular issue is pretty hard to wrestle with. We can often feel cruddy when it feels like we’re taking from others without giving back. But, as Casey reminds the user, 9 out of 10 times the feeling that we’re a burden rests solely on our shoulders, and the other person isn’t bothered at all. (I write 9 out of 10, because sometimes we can take from others, and they may feel frustrated with us. But, even in that scenario, the burden lies on that person to patiently and respectfully tell you how they feel. And if you didn’t mean to take from them, then you’re not at fault - it’s just a small thing to correct).

We often forget that, by being alive and breathing, we are both standing on, and taking from, the accomplishments of others. For instance, as I type, I benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that I am not under attack. There are soldiers all over the country who, 24/7, defend our borders from threats. Or another example - my son is starting to wake up. It’s my wife’s turn to go get him and give him breakfast, and I’m relying on her to do that. She’s putting out effort so that I can do what I want.

So, before we even talk about our relationships and how we might inconvenience others, there an understanding that by our very existence, we are inconveniencing dozens of people. Now I’m writing that in a joking way, but it’s an unavoidable truth. What’s more important to realize though, and here’s the lesson today is: that’s ok. Being a human being means relying on other people to help us get through this thing called life. Often, we’re not looked at as a burden at all, and if we are, we can gracefully let each other know.

Exercise:

  1. Jot down a list of all the people that you’re inconveniencing. Be funny about it - you’re literally a burden to the chair you’re sitting on, or you’re a bother to your neighbor for ending their property line, or you’re a bother to other people who need gas at the gas station while you’re pumping yours.
  2. For each of these scenarios, write why that’s ok. For example, the user’s answer to #1 would be, "I feel like a burden to my romantic partner. When I text them I feel like I’m bothering them and taking from them. That user would then write, "But that’s ok, this person wants to be with me. They understand that I’m not perfect, and it may even make them joyful to help me when I feel like a burden.
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Next Steps:

  1. Yes I do
  2. Probably with my 2 year old mostly - during COVID, there was no daycare. So my wife and I passed him back and forth like a hot potato, and I felt like I was over-relying on her at times. When I got to work or relax and she had Henry, I felt bad.

Exercise:

  • My wife: The COVID thing has been tough, but my wife and I both promised 6 years ago that we would love each other through good times and bad. That promise holds, and gives each of us joy as we fulfill it. It may be hard or tiring in the moment, but we find joy in serving one another.
  • Active duty military, policemen, firemen: I was in the military, and it was pretty tiring sometimes. But, I never felt like our citizens were putting a burden on me. I signed up to protect the country, and it was my choice to be a watchman on the wall. So, I know that our military people are serving because of their honor and commitment, and that reminds me that it’s really not about me.
  • People in the HS community that I ask to participate in events, like coming to our banquet or joining our Masterclass: I do feel like I’m bugging people here. But, I know that just asking someone to do something isn’t actually a burden. They can say no, and that’s ok.
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