By Nadine Saad
I will start this one with a health warning: this post contains a dose of tough love.
Firstly, no one else is responsible for your emotions. And no one else should be responsible for your emotions.
Now, I’m not insinuating that we shouldn’t care about others, shouldn’t be considerate, or shouldn’t have others’ best interests at heart.
We should, without question.
But the minute you hand another person responsibility for your emotions, you deflect ownership, give up personal power and open yourself up to codependent relationship dynamics.
This isn’t healthy for you, and it certainly isn’t healthy for the other person.
And this goes both ways. Caring about a person and caring about how they feel does not mean that you’re responsible for the emotions they experience (with the exception of children, of course).
There’s an important difference between the two sentiments: you can be empathetic and care about the person without taking on their feelings.
The more empathic you are, the more difficult separating the two can seem. But it’s important to be mindful that carrying everyone else’s emotions around is an extraordinary weight for anybody to shoulder.
And again, this isn’t healthy for you or anyone else involved.
Setting and honouring boundaries
It’s also important to realise that blurring the lines of emotional responsibility is actually overstepping an important boundary. This might sound a bit brash, but look at it this way: it’s letting others take up space they shouldn’t (and may not want to) be taking up, and inhabiting space that you shouldn’t be taking up - and where you might not be very welcome.
If you’re looking to set and honour healthier emotional boundaries in your relationships with others, start with these two steps:
1. Let go of feeling responsible for any emotional energy that isn’t yours;
2. Start taking ownership for everything that is.
Own your space, and honour theirs.
P.s. Find out how I can help you work with your emotions more effectively here.