On Saturday, I got triggered by a tenant in the building I manage. Another building’s big garbage bin was being moved. I was trying to listen to something so the noise annoyed, but when I realized what it was I got really angry. She was doing it again. My tenant keeps moving the garbage bin that belongs to the building behind us. She seems to think it’s in the way or that it will tip over. But it’s not and it won’t or at least it hasn’t. A couple of weeks ago she pulled it back and then the garbage didn’t get picked up. She had to call the city to come back and get it. Why does she think any of this is her responsibility?
Then I realized I was taking responsibility for her. Why should I care what she does? I do manage the building, but if she’s going to interfere with another building’s garbage bin, why do I care?
I had to walk that one out. I needed to walk off the anger and walking helps me think.
Last week I had a big awakening around how I let others treat me. Well in this situation it seemed that my vague boundaries also cause me to take responsibility for too much. Just like it’s not the tenant’s job to take care of the neighbor’s garbage, it’s not my job to monitor my tenant. So I closed the door, took a deep breath and let it go.
I’m thinking some of my control issues stem from my lack of strong boundaries. When I’m clear what’s in my jurisdiction, so to speak, I can relax. My tenant’s actions, at least regarding the neighbor’s garbage, are not my responsibility. If she hurt herself doing it, I could respond by helping her. It is a choice, but for me taking that kind of responsibility is a part of being interrelated as living beings. We help one another when we can.
We all have responsibilities. We sometimes think of that as a bad word and don’t want to take responsibility for anything. When we give up responsibility, we give up our power. They are intertwined.
Reminder to self: Don’t abdicate responsibility, but know where your responsibilities lie.