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The Division of Response-Ability and
What it Means to Love Others

Dear Dr. Matt:
My name is Brandi, I am divorced, single, and in my 40's. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

I am in a bit of a bind having several employers wanting me to work for them, and I'm feeling this huge sense of obligation to please them all, and am feeling guilt for not being able to.

How do I back out of all these jobs that I do not want, so that I can pick instead the employer of my choice, without hurting anybody else's feelings or feeling guilt for doing same?

I now see that I have done this same pattern in my relationships in the past, where I date several men then feel bad for choosing one guy over the rest; or simply continue dating a fellow just so as not to hurt their feelings.

Believe it or not, I've ended up dating men and marrying because I have felt sorry for a man. How sick is that?

Thank you,


Dear Brandi:

To be considerate to the employers that want you to work for them (but you want to go in a different directions), SIMPLY communicate that you will not be available to work for them any more after a certain date. If you want to give them a little lead time to find someone else, you might work for them for a week or two.

Nevertheless, you can be more direct than this, if the Edmonton job requires your presence sooner. An easy explanation might be this: "I'm moving to Edmonton . . . I have family there." And this will quickly explain why you can no longer work in Lethbridge.

You'll need to LET GO of anticipating their response. Just take care of your response instead. Read about the Division of Response-Ability.

I've counseled with a few ladies who have dated and married men because they felt sorry for them, and didn't want to hurt their feelings.

Brandi, when you GET the Division of Response-Ability . . . you will be better equipped to focus upon what YOU need to do! The focus is NOT selfish . . . rather it is one of complete accountability! And your accountability in every constraining situation is this: What is the Loving Response.

Because Love is the impact that benefits others to their long-term advantage, . . . you do not love others as you enable them in their selfishness, or their addictions. For example, pouring more drinks for an alcoholic, or providing more drugs to a drug addict—this is not love.

Hence, you are NOT being loving, as you try NOT to hurt the feelings of men and employers. Living the Gospel is NOT about trying NOT to hurt people feelings. How other people respond emotionally to what you do, is largely irrelevant to doing the loving deed as the Spirit inspires.

Consider how many people were "offended" by the words and deeds of Jesus? And did Jesus absolutely KNOW that they would be "offended"—have their feelings hurt? Of course, Jesus knew they would feel hurt and offended. And by this we KNOW that trying NOT to hurt people's feelings is absolutely the wrong approach and the wrong focus.

In a previous email, you mentioned being bothered by men that "oogle" you at the swimming pool. On a similar note, whether men "oogling" you at a swimming pool, should have NO bearing upon what you choose to do in life — if men "oogle," then that's what they will do . . . just as people took "offense" at the words and deeds of Jesus.

BOTTOM LINE: Jesus did the right thing anyway; He did the loving thing. Jesus always influenced others to their long-term benefit—this is the highest expression of love.

If going swimming is good for you and your health (or fun for your recreation), then you need to do it regardless of who might "oogle." It is clear to me, that you tend to think about how others will respond to you . . . too much. When you live life right, you will simply focus upon doing the right thing, the loving thing. These ideas will get to headed in the right direction.


Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

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Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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