3. I feel as if my happiness depends on other people.
As I recover, I discover that no person, place or thing outside myself can make me happy. Nothing outside of me can fill my emptiness. The only thing that will fill me and allow me to feel my happiness is to discover, be and live from and as my True Self, and then experientially connect with my Higher Power. If I believe that my happiness depends on another person, I will be giving away my power and setting myself up for living in response to their moods. I have thus lost my healthy independence and have become unhealthily dependent, i.e., co-dependent, on the other.
Charles Whitfield — Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting, and Enjoying the Self (pp. 18-19)
Near the beginning of this book, Charles Whitfield has a 40-question survey on personal boundaries. After each statement on the survey, you answer one of the following: Never, Seldom, Occasionally, Often, or Usually. For instance, #3 above is from the survey: “I feel as if my happiness depends on other people.” How might you answer that? Never? Seldom? Occasionally? Often? or Usually?
Depending on how you answer each question on the survey, you can begin to get a sense for how healthy or unhealthy your personal boundaries are with other people. I believe part of growing into a fully-functioning healthy adult requires you to consider exactly how healthy or unhealthy your personal boundaries are. Something tells me that most of us have blurred lines when it comes to our personal boundaries.
As I grow older, I have been taking difficult steps to understand myself better, and I have paid special attention to my inner life: beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, experiences, wants, needs, sensations, intuitions, unconscious experiences, etc. I have to be honest; some days I’m more successful than others.
How many of us feel like we are simply victims to other people’s moods and behaviors? Some days it feels like we ride the ferocious waves of those around us while all we can do is desperately grasp some driftwood and wait for the storm to pass. Are the ramifications for others’ behavior on us for allowing it or on them for acting that way? Answers to these questions aren’t near as cut and dry as we would like. It’s so easy to point the finger at the other person but that may not always be accurate.
If you’re in a situation where a friend, parent, loved one, or others’ behavior is causing you internal strife and turmoil, do yourself a favor and consider your own personal boundaries. According to Whitfield, “Setting healthy boundaries and limits is a way to deal with and prevent unnecessary pain and suffering” (p. 5). Understanding your own inner life is the best place to start, and that may mean seeing a professional counselor to get started on the right path.
Do you feel like your happiness depends on other people? If so, consider looking into that a little deeper.
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,