Tired of saying YES when you want to say NO?
How many times in your life have you said YES to doing something, when you really wanted to say NO?
Whether it was taking on a piece of work that you didn’t have capacity for, attending a social event when you didn’t want to, or offering to do something that went against your values…
We’ve all been there at one time or another.
I know this one well and I see it regularly with the clients that I work with.
We often say YES when we really mean NO because we worry about what others will think or how they will react, so we put their needs before our own.
But the underlying reason, is that we have not created personal boundaries. By not doing this, we’re effectively saying that we don’t value, love or respect ourselves enough.
What do we mean by boundaries?
Boundaries are the values that we hold and the rules that we set for ourselves about what we will and won’t accept. What keeps us safe, stress free and happy. A bit like policies and procedures in the workplace, that sets out what behaviours are acceptable and what are not.
You may be thinking that’s straightforward…
Well, it would be if everyone’s boundaries were the same. But they’re not.
We all have different views on what’s acceptable and not. Often times we impose our boundaries or assume that they’re the same as others’ when we have no clue what theirs are.
The key to adhering to our own boundaries and living a happier life, is letting other people know what they are and why. Then living up to them by saying what we mean and meaning what we say.
I often need time on my own to reflect and recharge my batteries after a long day at work.When I socialise, I prefer small, intimate get togethers with people that I know well. Small talk can be a challenge for me and I feel overstimulated in large groups with people that I don’t know.
For many years, I didn’t have boundaries and would say yes to every social invite that came my way because I didn’t want to be rude or hurt peoples’ feelings by say no. I would then agonise for days, sometimes weeks, over how to get out of the event - occasionally letting people down.
Over time, it became tiring and stressful.
Daring to set boundaries is about having the
courage to love ourselves even when we risk
Once I set a boundary that I would only socialise in settings that were comfortable for me, life became a lot less stressful. Now, when I’m invited to social events that are outside of my boundaries I say NO - I’m honest and say why. There will always be some people that can’t relate to that but for the most part, my family, friends and colleagues accept my boundaries around socialising.
So, if you don’t already have boundaries, I invite you to set some. Think deeply about what your values are and then consider the areas that saying NO, instead of YES would make your life happier and less stressful.
If you already have boundaries, but have a hard time sticking to them or feel that people frequently test them, then perhaps you’re not walking the talk. In order to really be effective, we have to communicate honestly and stick to the boundary even when it feels uncomfortable and when we risk letting others down.
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