Sometimes, we take on too much — more tasks than we can actually do, more emotions than we can adequately hold, or more directions in which we can easily move.

Sometimes, I take on too much.

I’ve also gotten much better at this over the years. But I was raised and socialized in ways that made me feel as though I was responsible for everything — responsible for everyone’s feelings and everything that needed to happen.

In the midst of my care work, I cannot do this. It doesn’t help me or frankly, anyone.

So I’ve pondered this quite a bit:
There is a difference between being responsive and being responsible.

When needs come my way, I want to be responsive. I want to listen well. I want to extend care. I want to hear the needs in the way that a person is presenting them. I want to hear their own resources (practical, emotional, financial, social, or spiritual) and when it’s helpful, as often as I can, I want to connect this person and need to more people who can help meet that need. That is being responsive.

We are not always responsible for every task or emotion needed, nor are we the cause or end of the situations that created the need in the first place.

But we can participate. We can care. We can be responsive, and this is vital action.

This helps me do care work.

Renee Roederer

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