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To what extent are we responsible for other people?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Alder, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Alder

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    More specifically, to what extent are we responsible for their happiness, well being? Of friends? Family?
    Is it our job to make sure they are fine, or is it each individual’s own responsibility to take care of themselves in the end? Where do we draw the line between helping others and unhealthy self sacrifice?

    Of course everyone's opinion of this will probably be different...but wondering if anyone has some thoughts/experiences to share.
     
  2. kageshiro

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    You're responsible of taking care of yourself, nothing more, nothing less. Other people are only your responsibility if they're dependent on you, which is probably if their either sick, disabled, elderly or a kid, anything besides that is optional. The choices that you make in how you treat others, will come to define you as a person, but for better or worse, they are yours to make.
     
  3. ScatteredEarth

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    I believe we are only responsible for someone's happiness and well being as long as we are with them, as in talking with them or interacting with them. We have the power to chose to make them unhappy or harm them.

    HOWEVER, it is the other person's choice to be happy and to be safe and/or defend themselves. I can only help, and even then, it's not a job, it's charity. That's the best way I can describe it. I don't need to make you happy, I do it because it makes me happy or feel good.
     
  4. Kaiser

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    Do you want the productive answer or the pragmatic one?
     
  5. ScatteredEarth

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    Oh oh oh! Gimme the pragmatic one!!!
     
  6. DreamerBoy17

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    Honestly, the bare minimum for helping others is probably people dependent on you, like kids, sick people, or the elderly. With friends and family, that tends to be your own decision on how you treat those around you. The definition of "excessive help" varies by person, and it is up to you as to how you treat these people.
    I tend to go overboard with helping my friends in real life, but not to enough to be a doormat or anything.
     
  7. Eveline

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    All peolple are connected through the energy of life and as such we should view people that we meet and interact with as extensions of ourselves and do our best to make others lives a tiny bit nicer. However, we should first of all focus on ourselves and those that we love as they are a part of who we are... (&&&)
     
  8. kem

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    for the most part, we are responsible for our own actions and choices.
    we should try to act in ways that cause as little suffering as possible, and if we fail to do that, we are responsible for that suffering.
     
  9. Ryu

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    Aside from parents who are inherently responsible for their kids, whether they like it or not, we're responsible for out selves. Why would you have to take the blame for somebody getting mugged unless your the mugger?

    I know that's a bit of an extreme example but you get the gist
     
  10. PerfectlyNormal

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    Some people cannot be happy from anything that is not material things.

    Others would cry from getting a basic human right never gotten before.
     
  11. UniqueJourney

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    I've been a people pleaser my whole life, and through counseling I've learned it is unhealthy (and simply not true) to think/believe that we are responsible for anyone's happiness but our own.

    I have no duty, no responsibility, and no ability to make someone else happy. That's their job. And vice versa.

    I am a grown adult. It is my responsibility to put healthy boundaries in place for myself, to make decisions for my own happiness and well being, and to make the changes that will lead me where I want to go.

    That's not to say that there is no place for kindness and compassion. But there is no obligation to be selfless. Consistently putting yourself last is a sign of low self esteem.
     
  12. Kaiser

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    Productive Answer
    We should all do what we can, how we can, for whom we can. If we continually do this, and eliminate the greedy or exploitative, we can all be individual pieces of one puzzle and get shit done.

    But that's easier said than done, and some folks are only going to be interested in their realm of interests; materials, personal connections, etc. It's easier to perk up when it's your kids/partner/pet on the chopping block as opposed to some random fellow on an island in the Pacific's little second cousin's gold fish.

    You could force people to benevolent actions, but is it still benevolence? And who will decide what is and isn't in the sphere of beneficial? How will they? What is the standard? And so on and so forth.

    Suddenly, you're fighting to keep unity. You're going to lose that battle, and not only that, you've shown that unity is a bad idea, and somebody else picks up the pieces and life sucks for a while.


    "That's interesting, Kaiser, but where does being responsible fit?"
    I'm getting there.​


    Being responsible for others is akin to credit. How reliable/useful/valued you are, basically. If everybody was working together for something, and one person decides to pocket a dollar or two, is everybody else going to reprimand this person or also take a dollar or two? If you reprimand the individual, your credit loses value, and if you all decide to compromise, your credit still loses value, because you're taking from the community pot (and not the particular green kind I'm fond of, LOL).

    Nobody wants to feel like a burden. Okay, maybe that's just me. Very little else gets me irritated like feeling useless. I may not be the star of the show, but I'll damn well be co-star at least! It's hard to bounce back from a setback or disappointment; many folks hold that against you. Sometimes, you'll even be associated with what was done to bring your personal credit down.

    History and personal experience have taught me, while this could be possible, it isn't until we encourage and prove that positive/beneficial/selfless acts/words/ideas are more productive than their counterparts.

    Personal Story Time
    Dealing drugs is illegal, but when you're making near $3,000 a week, that's hard to turn away from or argue against. For, maybe, 1 hour a day I made more than a factory worker, that breaks their backs, did in 2 weeks. Sure, dealing drugs brings with it a risk of criminal elements, but you're able to buy a new outfit, every day. Get a hair cut, every day. Buy the fanciest Valentine's displays for that lovely young lady. Nonchalantly hand somebody a Benjamin Franklin and tell them, fix that flat tire and buy you a new set too. Always have a full tank of gasoline. Be able to pay two or three months of utilities in advance.

    Want that, get that, is what life felt like.

    I could have gotten a legal job. But that takes time and can lead to deterioration of the body and mind. I could have a degree but still be pushing papers or taking orders. I could break my back working hard to provide for myself [and if I had them, kids], go through a tooth and nail fight over worker's compensation, and return to work being viewed as a liability from then on out. My company may go under and sell, leaving me on the street.

    Peddling drugs? If you can afford it, that's all that matters. And people will always find ways to get their fix. In fact, when things get worse, drug buying spikes. Most may avoid heavier stuff like cocaine, but they like their prescription pills and herbs. So the money is always going to be there, and it's accumulated quicker and in larger bulks. Nobody can tell me whether or not I qualify for what should be rightfully mine.

    I had no real motive to consider others. The only ones that mattered was, aside from myself, were those who provided the surplus. And it was only until I got those bags in my hands. Besides, why the hell would I have wanted to be sweating in a greasy fast food kitchen cooking McNuggets, when I could be ordering the McNuggets?

    So, while I'd like to see productive, it isn't practical, which is why...


    Pragmatic Answer
    I am conflicted about having any kind of responsibility for others, and here's why:

    I don't genuinely like a lot of people. There is no love loss, because many of them are meaningless in my eyes.

    However, exceptions exist. Much of them, amusingly enough, linger on this very forum. For them, I AM HEARTLESSLY EVIL AND TOUGH have a heart. For them, they have value, in varying degrees and ways. I have a motive to responsibility in regards to them, because they have demonstrated or shown their worth, be it through talents or perception. Intelligence, or the potential for it, is attractive to me. It's what I prefer to surround myself with; all walks of it, though, such as critical thinking, social intelligence, political or natural, spiritual or philosophical. It can even be intelligence with emotion, which is often underrated and under appreciated.

    Where conflict begins is, I dislike wasting time or straggling. I don't mind breaks, life happens, but allowing somebody into my life, even for a few moments, is time given that will not be given back. Often times, others feel like a burden to me, as they do not appear to be handling or moving fast enough for me. But if I encourage or speak to you, I'm giving you one of the highest compliments that can come from me. Many would call this arrogance, I call it wanting to increase my chances for success.

    If Life is a one-time ordeal, then I get one chance. It is not feasible for me to just lay down and become another grain of sand in the streams of time -- I aim to be the hour glass that holds the sand! And to get there, it will require persistent dedication, taking opportunities, a little bit of luck, and a support network. Basically, I'm looking out for myself---


    "So we should all be selfish?"
    Not exactly.​


    I have a hard time believing anybody else can do what I do, as well as I do. There is a desire to make sure I'm where I believe I should be, for that very reason. But it isn't possible to do this alone, and if somebody strikes me as useful, then I shall take responsibility for them. But whether you're a temporary figure or a permanent one, is what determines if you are meaningless or have meaning to me. If I am friendly with you, I like you -- and liking you means you have potential. Just remember, retracting that kindness is possible. My success is top priority; a selfishness for selflessness, as ridiculously contradictory as that sounds.

    If I spend all my time doing for others, I'll never get anywhere. And if I don't get anywhere, how can I get others beyond there? We're stuck there, and I'm sorry, this is not acceptable. I have ambitions to fulfill and things to do, and not everybody qualifies for the No Stop Express. But those who do, they have my confidence, and I'll look out for them.

    ^.~
     
  13. TheStormInside

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    This is something I've struggled with quite a bit in my life. Somehow, I've managed to surround myself with people who need a lot of help. Either they are emotionally fragile, or volatile, or they simply have a tendency to get in over their heads. Still, too, I recognize I can be this way myself at times. So, perhaps it's a case of "like attracts like."

    Through personal experience, I've learned that no matter how much you want it to be so, you can not *make* another person be happy. You can support them, you can guide them. You can give them advice, or do your best to provide distraction from what is upsetting them. But ultimately, they are the one who must make the decision to be happy, and to take the steps are necessary to get there.

    So, what is our responsibility? I think "responsibility" may not be the way I'd put it. Doing the *kind* thing is offering a hand when you see a person struggling to get up. Doing the *wrong* thing would be to push them back down. But is it wrong to let them struggle, if helping them harms you in some way? And, what if helping them didn't cause you any harm at all, but you just didn't *want* to help? Well, I would say, that's certainly not the kind thing, but, unless that person is your child, or a suffering relative that you are otherwise obliged to, it's not a *wrong* thing, either.

    I feel that more than having a responsibility to help others, I have a responsibility to help myself. And by that, I mean every person is responsible for their own health, well being, and happiness. And maintaining that responsibility is not only essential to our own life, but to the lives of others, as well. The less we take responsibility for ourselves, the more blame or hardship we tend to place on those around us. It's true, everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, and that is ok. Sometimes one's needs exceed one's capabilities. But ultimately, a person's happiness tends to rest in their own hands.
     
  14. UniqueJourney

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    Very well said.

    I am unfortunate enough to have an extremely narcissistic father, step-father, and ex-husband, all of whom are emotionally/mentally abusive. Add to that my first girlfriend after I came out, who also had borderline personality disorder and was a mentally/emotionally/physically abusive alcoholic.

    Sometimes, you simply have to put boundaries in place, learn to say no even if it displeases others, and take care of yourself first.

    Sometimes, even though you care and/or love someone...you cannot help them. If they don't want to be helped, there's not much you can do. And trying to help those types of people can so easily lead into co-dependence and enabling.

    I will say it again...the only person that I am responsible for is myself. No one else could break me out of those abusive relationships. I had to do that myself. No one can take the steps of healing for me...I have to painfully push through my traumas and take those steps on my own. Not necessarily alone, but on my own.

    That's not to say that I haven't had help and support along the way. I'm very grateful for being given a safe place to stay when I had no job and nowhere to go after I came out. I'm very grateful to everyone who helped me however they could when I was not in a position to help myself. Those wonderful people gave me the opportunity to get back on my feet. They were my springboard.

    But I had to choose to take their help and to put my own effort behind it to start taking care of myself. I had to learn to put boundaries in place and hold to them. I had to learn to do what is best for me to be healthy, happy, and whole.

    I believe in kindness, caring, and compassion. I wouldn't be alive in this world today if it weren't for people who shared these things with me. But on the flip side of that coin, there are those who manipulate, use, and abuse. And those types of people cannot be helped.

    This is where we must learn to discern where and when to put our compassion and kindness into motion. It is a gift that we give. It is not a responsibility.