Podcast: Why there's more to the phrase, 'it's not all yours to carry'

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‘We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to’ - Brene Brown

I came across this quote last week and it reminded me of a story and a phrase that I started adding a caveat to. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase It’s not all yours to carry. Well, I now tend to say ‘It’s not all yours to carry… but also, it’s not all yours to pick up.’

I believe that lessons are everywhere. And most life lessons are demonstrated in the small everyday things. Here’s how I came to add that caveat. 

A few years ago, living with my then partner, all of the bills were in his name. It came time for one of the energy bills to be renewed, else you end up on some astronomically charged standard tariff. Now, had I been able to, I know exactly what I would have done in that situation. Got the comparison websites up straight away, looking for the best deal. It would have been sorted within a few days. But, with the bill not being registered in my name, I wouldn’t have even got past the security questions on the telephone. 

So I had to wait. And let me tell you, it was uncomfortable not having control.
I made a few breezy enquiries (ha, you can read breezy as still trying to control things from the sidelines, because that’s what it was) as to whether he’d made the call yet… no, came the answer… and then I just had to leave it. And take comfort in the fact that the money wouldn’t be coming out of my account if the change wasn’t made in time. 

And guess what? It got done. But what that was really about, was it not being done my way and in my time. I needed an almost physical barrier of those security questions to be there, in order to not get involved. 

I have to have words with my hyper-independence sometimes. She can turn into a martyr at the drop of a hat at ‘always having to do it all.’ But do I? Do we? No. Does it all have to do done my way and in my time? While it would be preferable, also no. 

It’s something I battle with, as I can come up with the arguments of, ‘well if I don’t do it, who will?’ If you relate to any of this, we often have to confront ourselves on why we choose not to or feel unable to ask in the first place. Or, why we feel these places are ours to automatically pick up the slack. And why it’s the expectation for us to do so a lot of the time.

You could translate this scenario to the workplace, on a particular part of project work that always seems to land with you, or being the friend in the group that plays a certain role, and so it becomes just the way things are/have always been. What would happen if we stopped playing those roles for once... or forever? And what of our own assumptions in some of these situations about the roles we feel accustomed to playing? I sometimes ask myself what I get out of it. How it makes me feel. Needed. Important. Together. Busy.

We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.

It’s not all yours to carry. It’s also not all yours to pick up. 

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