Boundaries: You Are (Not) Responsible

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that you aren’t responsible for the happiness of your partner, spouse, family or friends. They are responsible for their own happiness. So phew, you can stop juggling that ball!

The bad news is the exact opposite of that; your happiness is your responsibility, no one else’s. In case I walked in on you blaming your parents, friends or the world for your problems. I know I know, life’s tough and so unfair! Tell me about it!

To break that down, you’re the one that has to create the boundaries in your life to not take on other peoples issues and problems. But that also means you also can’t blame anyone else and remember that your happiness falls on your shoulders. It’s one of those damn two way streets…

These two things sound simple in theory, but I’ve been surprised by how hard it is to put it into practise. This year has been a lot of learning how to for me.

You and I are different people and I don’t know your story. Maybe you have healthy relationships with every one in your life and you’re the King or Queen of boundaries. Though with all the angry, broken and selfish hearts roaming the streets, you and I included, I doubt that very much.

My story is that I spent years carrying people because I’m a rescuer. Growing up I wanted to make everyone happy and couldn’t stand to see the ones I love upset or hurt.  I’d run circles mentally and emotionally trying to fix everyone and everything. Angry at myself when I couldn’t, as if somehow I was lacking. The truth is that I was just a kid taking on responsibility that wasn’t mine to bear, and that no one has asked me to.

There’s compassion and empathy which is in our human nature. However, without clear boundaries  it can quickly turn into unhealthy rescuing. Pair that up with being a people pleaser (which is more or less most people, in varying degrees) and you have a very burdened person who is always fretting for someone else. Fretting for someone that has a mind, heart and the free will to make decisions for their lives. It’s interesting how often I forget this.

We all have within us the capacity to choose. Some people make good choices, others not so good. Whether you are making the bad decisions or watching someone else do it, look after you and do your life well. That’s the best thing you can do. You’re a better asset to the world and your future that way, not to mention your present life.

I’ve made some good decisions and some bad ones too, and they bought me here, to this very place in my life where I am totally humbled and deeply happy. I’m looking after me and making decisions that I hope will inspire others, but I can’t make them for anyone else. You are always being watched, remember that. Be an example to those who look up to you even if you never see who those people are.

When I was in a relationship, making my boyfriend happy stressed me out. I saw it as my job, my role to be his constant provider of joy. It was hard work for one reason: I was taking his whole life into my hands and buckling under the pressure, when I didn’t need to. He never asked me to. I just thought that’s how it went; that from day one it was my job to make him happy.

Obviously it came from a place of love and because I wanted to make this person happy, but that’s not what relationships are for! Romantic, friendship or family based; it doesn’t matter. Human relationships are to share, come alongside, support, uplift, love, bounce off and have fun with each other. To enjoy life together! They are a source of happiness, of course, but I believe that’s ones own responsibility. Not the people that they do life with.

I want to fix, please and encourage. I can absolutely encourage, but I will only die trying to do the other two. I will never fix anyone or please everyone.

Do your life well and empower others to do their lives well, but don’t do try to do it for them. Your happiness is on your shoulders and you have everything it takes to tackle the daily curve balls of life.

They are responsible for them and you are responsible for you.

Does any of this strike a chord with you? Have you experienced the burden of making someone else happy, or have you blamed other people? 

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My Happiness Remedies

I am pretty good at wallowing in my own pity, WOE IS ME style. It’s in my top 5 list of talents. After doing it consistently for months on end, I can conclude that it isn’t working. I know, what a shock Micaela, you genius! So in the past week I’ve made a little ‘go to’ list of things that distract me and pick-me-up when I’ve got the blues. It’s short but oh-so-sweet, and punches my self-pity in the face!

1. Running. As you may know, I’ve taken up running again in an effort to bring some discipline (and a hot body) into my life. I had a ‘sad day’ last week and after my run, nothing had changed except for the endorphins running through my body. But thankfully, they changed everything. Endorphins are my friend.

2. Skyping home. For you, this may be just calling a friend or meeting up with someone. But sometimes there are those special people who know what to say. They know you and love you. I always feel loved and appreciated (and so thankful) after skyping my friends and family in New Zealand. So if I’m feeling lonely, I’ll text and find someone who’s free and wants to chat. I haven’t been so great with this in the past.

3. Watching Modern Family online. Seriously, instant laughs. May not be your jam, but any light hearted sitcom that has major LOL factor will do. Takes your mind off your life for 30 minutes and who doesn’t love laughing?!

So there’s my little list. For you this could be very different. But I encourage you to also have a couple of things like this in your life, especially if you’re going through a particularly difficult time.

We can’t always change everything we aren’t happy about, but we can change how we deal with it. Say no to moping.

Chin up buttercup, because this too shall pass. One day.

What would be on YOUR list? Do you have any suggestions for mine? Leave a comment.

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Happiness Is

Happiness is standing on a random island in Scotland, grinning stupidly to yourself.

Happiness is glancing back at your past for perspective, looking down to where you are for orientation, and looking forward to where you’re going for vision. All with hope in your heart.

Happiness happens when you push yourself forward to where you didn’t think you could go.

Happiness is found in friends who are there for you on the bad days when you’re not very fun company.

Happiness is laughing aloud about something funny that happened, even when no one else is around.

Happiness is knowing that you can’t do it all alone, but you can do a lot alone.

Happiness is knowing it isn’t you, it’s Him in you.

Happiness is laughing at your own misfortune, because it’s really not that bad.

Happiness is when you don’t need anyone else to bring you happiness.

Happiness is found in yourself first.

This is what happiness has looked like to me recently. How about you? What does your happiness look like? Are you happy? Leave a comment!