Control and Commitments

The person who is angry at you for setting boundaries is the one with the problem… Maintaining your boundaries is good for other people; it will help them learn what their families of origin did not teach them: to respect other people.

Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John. Boundaries. Zondervan. 2017

Taking care of ourselves and supporting others and their well-being must include taking a hard look at our boundaries. What or who are we attempting to control? What are we committing to, and do these commitments reflect our boundaries and fit with our responsibilities? How are we doing enforcing our boundaries and letting go of things outside our control?

Here’s a short list of considerations to help us set and maintain strong personal boundaries:

  • Know yourself
  • Take responsibility for yourself
  • Developing a healthy respect for yourself
  • Heed the warning signs
  • Don’t try to fix people
  • You are in charge of your choices
  • Separate yourself from others

Source: 7 Tips to Create Healthy Boundaries with Others by Abigail Brenner, MD for Psychology Today at

What’s Really In Your Control?

Experts have found that, in general, people with an internal locus of control tend to be better off. However, it is also important to remember that internal locus of control does not always equal “good” and external locus of control does not always equal “bad.” 

In some contexts, having an external locus of control can be a good thing—particularly when a situation poses a threat to self-esteem or is genuinely outside of a person’s control.

Locus of Control and Your Life (2021, 16 Aug) by Kendra Cherry for Verywell Mind

Our approach to control can be deeply rooted in a number of experiences and values. While internal and external views aren’t universally good or bad in every situation, it can be helpful to understand our perspectives, motivations, responses, and strategies to help us think and act in ways that promote health and well-being. For more on this, we recommend Internal vs External Locus of Control: 7 Examples & Theories by Amanda O’Bryan, Ph.D. for Positive Psychology.

Making and Keeping Reasonable Commitments

While some responsibilities are given and non-negotiable (i.e. a bus driver is responsible for driving a bus; a parent is responsible for caring for a child), there are many responsibilities that we willingly take on (i.e. swapping shifts with a co-worker; picking up groceries for a neighbor; daily exercise plan; etc.).

Just because we willingly take on these responsibilities, and just because they are objectively “good,” doesn’t mean that we should do them or always do them. It’s easy to say no to responsibilities we dislike and to responsibilities that we know are harmful. It’s difficult to say no to responsibilities that we believe are good. But, like Luisa in Disney’s Encanto, just because you’re able, doesn’t mean you should, or else the pressure can become too great to continue bearing.

Setting boundaries and limiting commitments isn’t easy. Consider the following tips and tools to help you live a more manageable life:

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