For those of you who have ever felt any resentment toward anyone (aka all of us), have you ever wondered why you’ve felt that way? I mean really thought about why you were feeling resentful toward that person?

Often, we think the reason we feel resentment is because other people ask too much of us, or cross our boundaries, or make us feel guilty, or don’t do what we want them to do or think they should do.

But we get resentful for another reason.

And we’ll get to the that, but first, let’s talk about why we exhaust and overwhelm ourselves with trying to please and meet the wants, needs and desires of everyone around us all the time.

Because somewhere along the way we allowed ourselves to get caught in the (mistaken) belief that we are responsible FOR other people.

We’ve told ourselves that we need to be able to control other peoples’ behaviours, choices, thoughts, feelings, or actions and because of this, have decided must then be responsible for the behaviours, choices, thoughts, feelings or actions of the people in our lives.

But you, as well as I, know that try as hard as we might, we cannot nor will not ever be able to control someone else. So why do we try? Why do we still secretly think we can?

Because we have good intentions. It actually does come from a good place. We want the important people in our lives to be happy, feel good, make the right choices, feel cared for and appreciated.

Those are all REALLY good things. But there’s a difference between wanting that for our nearest and dearest and feeling like it’s up to us to make all of those things happen for them. And when we get stuck feeling the latter, we get stuck feeling resentful. 

So what then? What is our role in all of this?

I will tell you.

We are responsible TO others. We are responsible TO be kind, considerate, open minded and respectful. And it is up to them to choose how they will take that from us. We are not, nor cannot be responsible for them.  

Not to say I’m now giving you carte blanche to go around acting like a big fat jerk saying: “Well I can treat you however I want because hey, how you take it is not my responsibility – you’re problem, not mine!” No, not at all please. Don’t forget, you are not responsible FOR, but you are responsible TO.

And we are still VERY responsible FOR something. But only one thing. One important thing.

We are responsible FOR ourselves. We are responsible FOR our own thoughts, choices, beliefs, reactions, and behaviours. That is all. Ours. Not anyone else’s. 


If you enjoyed this, I’d love it if you shared it. And if you do, let me know so I can thank you!

 I’m Julia Kristina MA, RCC,  an I’m a CBT, Mindfulness, and Positive Psychology registered (aka licensed) therapist and life coach out of Vancouver BC.

If you’d like to work with me 1:1 I do in-person sessions from my office in downtown Vancouver, or virtually to any where in the world via SKYPE.