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The more I took responsibility for my desires—or lack thereof—and set clear boundaries with my dates, the less victimized I felt. And of course, taking responsibility for yourself extends to every area of your life, not just first dates!Learning to set boundaries and communicate them is an essential tool for anyone looking for a happy life.

I remember one moment, as I stewed with resentment towards a thoughtful, considerate, perfectly wonderful man, that I had an epiphany.I’d allowed him to go just a tad further than I really wanted, but when I thought about it, the guy had done absolutely nothing wrong.And once I acknowledged to myself that this is what I’d been doing—playing the victim—I resolved to take responsibility.When I realized that my resentment wasn’t serving any useful purpose, and that it was really me I was angry with for not setting clearer, stronger limits, I could release the resentment and work on making the changes I needed to myself.It became my mantra for a while, helping me chart a less turbulent course through my dating days.

Knowing something and always integrating it in your life are two different things, however.I was the one who chose to keep pounding away at the computer instead of going to the gym! Instead of stewing in resentment toward my sweetie, I was filled with gratitude for the lessons I learned during my dating days! Now my antennae are back up again, watching for the niggling feeling of resentment so I can nip it in the bud before it blooms.The responsibility was mine alone, and any anger directed elsewhere was a pointless waste of energy. Whether it’s unwanted kisses or a visit to the gym, when you take 100% responsibility and realize your anger is really toward yourself, resentment melts away and makes space for greater happiness.I, on the other hand, am rather more concerned with my fitness than your average Joe.But even so, I don’t always reach my goal of daily exercise.I recently discovered that I needed to remind myself of my resentment epiphany.