Boundaries are what honors you – all of you.
For you to have healthy relationships with yourself and others – setting and maintaining those boundaries takes time and practice.
It means you are aware and know your limits.
Here are some examples of when you are struggling with healthy boundaries
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Feeling guilty when you say no
- Going against your own values to please
- Not speaking up when someone impedes your boundary
- Not sharing thoughts & feelings or opinions when you have something to say
- Accepting sex and physical touch when you don’t want it
- Allowing others to say and do things that make you uncomfortable
All of those won’t feel good and impact your personal, emotional, mental and spiritual health. They leave you lost, frustrated, confused about who you are, afraid of taking action and even lack of control over your own life.
So how exactly can you begin to honor yourself?
- Mindset – Acknowledge that having boundaries are not only okay but they are healthy to have
- Identify and name your limits – think about times you didn’t feel so good about a situation or person. Include your values, belief system, and outlook and acknowledge what does feel good.
- Share with others about your boundaries. Have a conversation about what feel good and what you can’t tolerate. Share with them how they may have made you feel.
- Be willing to give yourself permission to feel fear and self-doubt and acknowledge that people around you may not respond well. And be willing to accept that it is okay. Maintaining your boundaries is connected to your self-respect.
- Self-Care is and should be your priority. Allow yourself to put you first. This includes seeking support when you have a hard time with boundaries.
It’s okay to not have it all figured out and take small steps. One Boundary, one person at a time.
The Power of No
No is one of the hardest words in the English language. It is also quite the powerful word – not too shabby for two letters.
When we were two years old, we learned to say NO quite well and we said it often and then over time we have been conditioned since then that NO is a bad word and so we begin to say yes – even when we really mean to say no. We are then refined to be people pleasers and feel quite guilty for when we do say no. When we are trying to get out of doing something, we then resort to all kind of words and language that means no but it’s everything but direct, kind of like this sentence.
We start making excuses of why we cannot spend time with another person, perhaps a person we love and cherish to be in our lives but because we have the difficulty to say no for fear of rejection, we just create another illusion of our world.
Some of the things you can do to help you are when someone is making a request, you can tell them that you need to think about it before you can commit or not.
When you are saying no, you need to be direct and firm but don’t be rude about it. It’s totally ok to say no and not give a reason for why you can’t or don’t want to.
And please, when you do want to say yes, do so but when you say yes when you mean no, you will feel resentful and it will leave you uncomfortable and drain you of your own energy.
Learning to say no is not an easy feat and it will be quite uncomfortable in the beginning but as you are getting more used to it, you will thank yourself for acquiring this skill that came so easily to you when you were 2.
Do you find yourself saying YES to help out a friend because you feel guilty if you don’t help your friend? Do you find yourself saying YES to the family when they are in need and you must choose between your own obligations or fun stuff you have scheduled and continue to sacrifice yourself for everyone else?
Easier said than done but very important. I am not saying you cannot ever help your friend or your family but please please please do not make this happen at the expense of your own fun stuff or your own obligations that you are so stressed out about life.
If you continue to say yes, you are creating the atmosphere of people taking advantage of you and make you feel used.
A few weeks ago I wrote about taking care of yourself and this really is an extension of this.
It will not be easy because you will feel guilty initially by not saying yes. Start small by finding something to say no to, and say it firmly but be polite! You’ll be surprised to know that the world will still spin and people do not take offense (if they do, they aren’t worth pleasing)!
If you are in the middle of a project or even some quiet alone time, don’t jump up immediately. You will continue to feel stressed and overwhelmed rather than fulfilled and happy.
Several years ago I was in a place where I dropped everything for everyone, except myself. I had homework and I made excuses on why it could wait so that I can say yes to the person asking for help. It caused me being stressed to the max because I was on a deadline and I like.. no love punctuality. When I went back to college, I slowly learned to say no so that I could put in the effort to my school work.
Repeat after me:
I am not responsible for everyone and everything.
When you stop doing something for others you create room for others to do something for you. It also gives you and others a break!