3 Questions to Help You Decide Where to Set BoundariesBy Stephanie Lewis
Do people expect a lot from you? If you’re reading this article, it is likely your answer is yes. Do others’ demands on and expectations of you take up an outsized amount of time and energy in your life? Keep in mind that what constitutes outsized differs. The amount of attention you need to devote to your child, for instance, is generally different if the child is young or an able-bodied adult.
While it is not so easy to set and maintain boundaries, the demands on you can raise your stress level, especially if you resent what others expect from you. Here are a few questions to consider in deciding where to set your boundaries:
1. Is the Expectation a Reflection of “Your Role”?
When you are capable and well-informed, others look to you for advice or assistance. It may be as simple as your “role” in your family or in the community you live in. At some point in life, however, putting others first can tip so far that it interferes with what you need to do to take care of you, honor your priorities, and reach your goals. The accumulated expectations may drain you energetically.
Consider if your participation in what others ask you to do is a conscious decision. If on reflection you determine that it is not a role you want to continue, begin to redefine your boundaries.
As you redefine boundaries, you may experience some resistance as you make changes in your relationship with others. In fact, some of that resistance may be from you. This is particularly so if you’ve been playing this role for a long time. Generally, however, people adapt. If possible, consider phasing out. You may also want to think about how your relinquishing certain responsibilities gives others an opportunity to learn, grow, and assist.