Yesterday while in the grocery store, I overheard someone say “it’s not my job to take care of them.” It was a simple phrase that floated past me and I didn’t even know I heard it until later. A few hours later. I was seated on my deck doing my best to clear my mind for ten minutes. I was feeling quite proud of myself when my chime went off that I had a swirling of thoughts come in and out, but I didn’t abandon my sit. I let it flow. As I opened my eyes and began to take in the flood of sensory items, I heard that phrase from that voice.
“It’s not my job to take care of them.”
I began to think of all the times I may have used that phrase ‘not my job’ in my life. I remember during a brief time of working for Disney, we were specifically taught that it is a collective effort to take care of everything and everyone. Yet, then I honed in on relationships. I could hear that phrase being used even in a manner to liberate one from feeling obligated or co-dependent to someone else’s needs and plans. This didn’t bring me pleasure or a good feeling. I started to reflect on what other way could I reframe that phrase in my own life. I thought of the phrase “calling”. sometimes when something isn’t your job, its your calling. Then I brought up things like need, mission, desire. Taking care of someone else or being mindful of their needs can be a calling. It could be a need, a mission, or a desire.
First, I flipped this phrase to be more positive: It IS my ________ to take care of _________. I tried out inserting my husband into the phrase and saying the words “my job” felt diminutive and submission. When I changed it to desire, it felt connected and passionate. I also quickly was able to be more specific as to what I am taking care. I felt that the original statement was so broad and vague. I was looking for clarity. Then I could easily swing back to the negative statement of “It’s not my desire to…” and I felt free and released from what I did not want.
I began to change it to other people in my life, my kids, my students, my community, even myself. This phrase became powerful and enlightening. It made clear where my energy is going and the impact it is having on my journey. I began saying taking care of (insert activity or task) and then tried to give it a label of function or importance. I started to see the life I am living verse the life that I want. So much can be shifted with our thoughts and words.