Just a thought: Carrying the burdens of others


I carry the burdens of others. I don’t know if this is healthy or not, but I do what I do and it is what it is. I don’t know how to live my life any differently.

It adds stress to my life. It also adds value to my life. I don’t think I would get the full experience out of my walk on this planet if I didn’t carry the burdens of others.

You probably have the same experience. There are people in this world who look to you to help them along. They lean on you. They count on you. The direction their lives move in the present and the future is impacted by what you say or do.

Somehow, with proper boundaries, I think we were designed to carry the burdens of others. That’s a large part of why life is worth living. Each of us has our sphere of influence that allows us to impact and hopefully add value to the lives of others.

You have the power to take on as many burdens as you want to. There’s a lot out there that you can worry about. You also have the power to walk from or disregard the burdens of others.

The burdens we carry can keep a person awake at night. They can change the focus of a person. Understand here that what you do for others adds value to them and, done right, will also add value to your life.

You see, it’s all about relationships. If you lived on a desert island all by yourself you might still be anxious and worry about those you love, but without any interaction you would have no ability to impact their lives.

Instead, each of us is put into the flow of the lives of others. They may be family, friends, coworkers, church family, people you serve at work or civic or non profit organizations you might be involved with. There is likely a long list of individuals whose lives you impact.

Some of those you impact do just fine without you. Your relationship may be a surface relationship where, whether you interact with that person or not, the trajectory of that person’s life will be the same.

But others look to you for wisdom. They lean on you. They listen carefully to every word you say and because of you, their life is changed.

As an attorney, I interact daily with many lives who depend on me giving them good advice to help them through what may be the most difficult season of their life. I do my best to use my experience and knowledge to help the person sitting in front of me or on the phone to make good decisions and have an appropriate attitude.

But when our exchange ends, I often still carry their burden. I know we should all leave work at work, but that is easier said than done. Each day I work, there are others who have expectations of me. I am sure that is the world you live in also.

Their expectations and my desire to give them the best I have puts pressure on me to perform at my highest level. I strive to meet these expectations. The burdens I carry outside the office impact how I perform in serving my clients.

An example in my life of what I am saying is the time I wake up each morning. I do a good job of going to bed pretty close to the same time each evening, but what time I wake up is determined by what is expected of me in the day ahead.

For example, if I have a court trial, I will wake up early, anxious to finish preparations for my day in court. If I have an office day I sleep deeper, sometimes longer, and wake up less anxious. If it is a weekend day, I wake up relaxed knowing I have a day with little stress.

Understand that nothing in this column is complaining about my carrying the burdens of others. As indicated above, I get paid for many of the burdens I carry and this allows me to support my family.

Carrying other’s burdens makes living our lives about others, not ourselves.

Who is living their lives worried or anxious about you? Who do you think has your life as a burden they are carrying?

I’m not trained as a psychologist and maybe an expert might say this is unhealthy. I would refer to it as good stress. By my own simple definition, bad stress reduces the value of your life. We need to minimize bad stress. Good stress allows us to perform to our best level, to be the best version of our self.

When a basketball team takes the floor at the start of a game, it’s too late for a player to get in shape or to practice his or her shot. What has happened off the floor determines what happens on the floor. The players on the team should be anxious to get on the floor and into the game. They should have worked hard and the game should demonstrate and to some degree celebrate the fruits of their labor.

There are fans out there who have expectations of the players performing at their highest level and hopefully winning the game. Each player who is suited up should, to some degree, be carrying the burden of the fans who are ready to watch how they play.

My challenge to you today is to recognize that burden carrying is something we all do. Some of us do a better job at this than others in this area. Assess how good of a job you are doing.

What burdens of others are you carrying? Are you not carrying enough?

Are you carrying too many burdens? Do you need to put some of your burdens down?

Your ability to handle this volatile area of your life will have a major impact on the quality of life you experience day to day.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.