“If it’s not a heck yes, then it’s a no.” OR “I set boundaries for a more balanced life.”
Sometimes when I look ahead at my calendar, both work and social, I become overwhelmed and dread how many things I have committed to. I was conditioned from a very young age that “good girls” don’t say “no”. So what I learned, was to agree to everything asked of me. I thought that saying “yes” was a way to make sure everyone around me was pleased, and that I was liked. What a fallacy. This pattern lead me down a path of spiritual depletion, and sometimes even resentment towards those I loved most.
When we say yes to everything without considering our own needs we are not honouring the most important relationship we have: the one with ourself! This also undermines the connection between us and the one asking… most people who care about us, wouldn’t want us doing things out of a sense of obligation; think about that. That resentment I mentioned, is merely a reflection of what’s going on inside. The bitterness is more likely towards self, but that’s a hard pill to swallow, so it’s easier sometimes to deflect and blame others. It’s as if there isn’t a choice in the matter, and we have to do what’s asked of us. When we love ourselves, we find balance (which is what it’s all about) and then we can decline without feelings of self-condemnation.
When I do say “no”, I often feel compelled to give a long explanation as to why so that the recipient of the “no” will understand. This is an unnecessary step in declining a request. Do you find yourself in this same pattern? Once we decline, we are released; the reaction to that boundary belongs to the recipient.
I have also suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out) which can lead to over commitment. Maybe you can relate? I go to events, and social gatherings when my higher self needs solitude and an opportunity to re-charge. I realize now, a date with myself might be the most important part of my week.
When I say “no”, it’s not a rejection of the person asking, it’s simply a protective barrier for the energy I hold. When we are able to say “no” to some things, we can more vividly enjoy all of what we say “yes” to. Boundaries are a healthy way to take care of yourself, so if it’s not “of course I’d love to do that”, then “it’s a no, I’m unable do that” PERIOD! No apologies and explanations needed.
The consequences of inadequate boundary setting for me, has ranged from feeling completely depleted to down right indignation. The result of healthy boundary setting is a more peaceful and joyful life.
This is easier said than done, so here’s a few exercises to get you started:
- Pause and say:” let me get back to you”. Simply saying this allows you the space to think things through and respond in a way that honours you.
- Keep a calendar so you can see everything you have committed to and how much time and energy each task will take you.
- Pencil YOU TIME into that calendar. Whether it’s a yoga class, or a nap…..you decide. When that calendar looks comfortably full, start declining with grace.
- Work on saying “no”, without a bunch of explanations. (This one is challenging for me)
- Put yourself FIRST. This is means asking yourself every time, is this good for me?
By Nicole Whitman