I have carried weight throughout life in different ways and circumstances: Learning to drive and doing so responsibly; becoming a parent and raising a child to successful adulthood; managing a work contract for litigation support so the client is treated fairly; counseling women with unplanned pregnancy so the mother can make decisions that work for her and the child; and advising university students regarding their hoped-for major; and so on.
The burden for any of these comes with the responsibility to achieve the goal, the actual outcome that works best in the situation. Being responsible is a huge weight to bear. Handling it well preserves one’s integrity and gives credence to one’s word, one’s honesty, one’s reputation. Being in a position of responsibility provides a sense of importance, and perhaps power too, which is critical not to abuse. All of these situations are burdensome because the focus is on outcomes for others. They must think and feel that my effort and behavior and knowledge is useful and helpful to their goal(s). The fine line to walk is knowing that some decisions are not mine to make because others must live with the outcomes of what they choose.
When I drive, I don’t want to injure others.
When I raise my child, I want the child to be thoughtful and responsible and pleasant company for others. Besides loving, I must constantly examine my interactions to see if their likely outcome promotes those goals. If not, I need to try something different.
When I work for a company or institution, I need to understand the goal for the project and what parameters I must work within. I need to be sure my employees understand and adhere to the goals and parameters. I must meet some of their expectations so that they will, in turn, meet mine.
When I counsel or advise, I need to thoroughly understand what possibilities are available and what goal(s) the individual before me wants to reach. I must provide alternatives if the first option doesn’t work out for myriad possible reasons, because to leave someone without guidance and choices is to be of no help at all. That’s a burden I don’t want.