“I don’t want to be a burden.” I have heard this statement from many people over the years, and I have had the thought myself at times. As adults, we still need one another and will need extra support during certain chapters of life. We need to develop the ability to ask for help. We also need to develop the ability to set a boundary with others when necessary, and respect when another person sets a boundary. When it comes to boundaries, keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. If you’re concerned about being a burden, chances are that you are erring too much on the side of not asking for support rather than being burdensome. The support you’re needing is likely reasonable and available. Those in your life who genuinely care about you want to support you. If your support people are emotionally healthy, they will say no if they are not able or willing to help.
2. When you find yourself facing a number of requests from others, avoid saying yes because you want to please people, or because you feel you’re the only one who will step up to help. No matter how caring and compassionate you are, you need balance in your life, and limiting your yeses allows you to more fully give rather than feeling depleted or resentful.
3. Develop and maintain relationships with people who are willing to ask for help and willing to help you. But also look for people who are willing to be honest with you and say no to requests when they are feeling stressed. In doing so, you’ll enjoy relationships that are more free of resentment, where help can be asked for and received in an environment of trust and emotional health.