I spent most of my childhood and much of my life feeling overwhelmed and burdened by what I thought was true ‘responsibility’. In the culture and family environment I was born into, responsibility was all about family first and taking care of everyone else’s needs before my own. This constant focus on others’ needs first is what I believed true responsibility to be.
Growing up, strong expectations were placed upon me both as a girl and as the eldest child in a family of five sisters. My father and mother worked all day on the family farm and would set tasks for me each day, including looking after my younger siblings.
At the age of four, I found myself a prime carer for two younger sisters, changing nappies and feeding them, and being fully responsible for their care until my parents came back from work. As I got older I had to ensure that the housework was done, and the family’s meals were prepared – all on top of my day at school!
If something had not been done ‘the right way’ or even when others misbehaved, I was made to take full responsibility and as the oldest was made the example – being punished regardless of what the situation was and who was truly at fault.
In this environment I became overwhelmed with a sense of always being responsible for everyone else and with no self worth. I lived in constant anxiety and fear of what could go wrong next. Physically, my body ached and I could not sleep at night. I felt trapped, and in the hardest times, I would go to a place where I felt safe and just cry.
As a result of feeling like nothing I did seemed to be good enough, I became someone obsessed with doing everything ‘right’, a perfectionist in my work, the way I lived and everything I did.
I found myself in a constant state of stress, setting ever-higher standards for myself in completing every job, something I took well into my adult years. When I had a family of my own, all of these patterns and behaviours just intensified. I was an extremely nervous person, always needing to control what went on with everyone in the family, and also in my workplace.
I suffered from depression, and reached a point where I did consider suicide. I was chronically exhausted, overwhelmed, often angry, and constantly unwell.
It was not until I came to the work of Universal Medicine at age 54, and began attending workshops presented by Serge Benhayon, that I began to get a sense of what responsibility truly is. Finally here was a man who made so much sense!
Through Serge’s teachings and the Universal Medicine workshops I have attended, I have come to truly understand that true responsibility starts with myself first and foremost.
As the realisations dawned, that I had chosen to be responsible for everyone and everything around me first, I felt I had made a mess of not only my life, but that of all of my family members. Always helping everyone and fixing things had made me feel good about myself, and needed. It was a way of avoiding the deep hurt I still felt from my childhood.
It was a powerful and deeply humbling moment when I realised that in taking on responsibility for others, I did not allow them to be who they truly are; to live and learn from making their own choices in life.
And so from applying what I learnt from attending Universal Medicine courses, I made a choice to be responsible for myself first. This point marked a ‘turn-around’ in my life. Holding my behaviours in such loving understanding allowed things to change. I am still learning, but I now have tools to work with every day.
Being aware of how I am living with myself and how my body feels is the key to no longer harming self or others through the controlling behaviours I’d lived by.
I find I am so much kinder to myself and that the need for perfectionism is, amazingly, loosening its hold. I notice this in the way I work and deal with even the smallest of things every day.
Knowing the truth of responsibility is the greatest gift I could ever be given. And, it is a gift I give to myself. I do not blame my parents for all that happened, as they did not know any better. What reflection did they have of what true responsibility really is? I feel they did the best they could.
Responsibility is beautiful.
I truly love being me, knowing in my heart that I am committed to making loving choices from which I can learn and grow. To have let go of the hurt has opened up so much joy in my life. At age 60, I have never felt better. I live life feeling pretty amazing every day, and rejoice in knowing and living true responsibility as a beautiful blessing.
Thank you Serge Benhayon, for reflecting how beauty-full it is to be truly responsible.
By Kathy Avram, Melbourne, Australia