Where Most of Our Anxiety Comes From
Today we’re chatting about anxiety.
I’ve talked about anxiety on the blog before, covering:
Today we’re talking about anxiety that comes from taking on responsibility that isn’t yours to take on.
As I work with clients on anxiety in our six-month coaching program I find that most often, when a client is struggling with anxiety, it comes down to them taking on responsibility that isn’t theirs to take on.
Whether it’s taking on the responsibility of a family member or members, doing work that isn’t theirs to do, or trying to control an outcome that is uncontrollable – what I call “God’s work.”
Let me share some examples…
Taking on a family members anxiety might look like feeling responsible to be everything to someone. For example, your sister has a baby and you feel responsible to be the sole-best-human in that baby’s life. If you want to do that and it brings you joy, great! But if you feel anxious pressure to be everything to that little human, you need to step back and remember that she has other people too.
Put some of the responsibility back where it belongs: not all on you. This little person has other people in his/her life who love (and want the room to love!) them too. You don’t have to be everything (it may be refreshing to hear, you aren’t everything). Once you let go a bit, you will be able to enjoy all you can with this little person rather than feel resentful when something comes up.
You know what you can do, which helps you to outline what you can’t do.
Taking on responsibility at work that isn’t yours could look like doing far beyond what is outlined in your position, continually. For example, in my line of work I outline to a client exactly how I am committed to them. I commit to 12 phone sessions throughout a period of six-months and unlimited email and text support for that client. I encourage these forms of communication.
However, I am not responsible to freely add sessions whenever needed, to answer my phone outside of phone session times, or to do things for a client that the client needs to learn to do themselves. This is all agreed upon before we start our work together; it’s clear.
For example, if it’s a financial coaching and the client decides to cancel his/her gym membership, I’m going to empower the client to do that work himself/herself. It’s outside of what I am committed to. I’m not going to call the gym for the client. Makes sense, right?
Taking on God’s responsibility would be trying to control an outcome that you have no control over. For example, with losing my mom. I believe that God knew exactly when my mom would go to heaven (I lost my sweet mom in 2017 from cancer – see that post here). I had no control over that. All I could do was love on her, support her, and explore every option with her.
Can you image if I were to take on the full responsibility of her not dying when she did? I would have gone stir-crazy. I would not have been able to be present with her. I would’ve been anxiety ridden in a season that was already full of normal anxieties and uncertainties. This is truly an area were I needed to “let go and let God.”
Where do you need to “let go and let God”?
These are all personal examples to help stir in your heart where you might be taking on responsibility that isn’t yours, which is causing you anxiety.
Think about where you feel most anxious in your life. Are you taking on responsibility that isn’t yours? Trying to get someone you love to do something you think is right? Taking on your bosses work? Stepping far outside your outlined work for a client?
All of these things can cause an immense amount of anxiety. I know this first-hand, because I’ve dealt with it too! So ask yourself:
- Where am I taking on responsibility that isn’t mine?
- Where does that responsibility belong?
- What or who do I need to trust in order to hand this load back over?
- How will I do that? What are my next actions?
I hope this post was helpful and encouraging! If you have thoughts (I bet you do!), share them in the comments below. I would love to hear what you think and how this post relates to you!