Know Your Boundaries – Practice Saying No Like Weight Training
September 13, 2011
Do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’ or cave in when others ask for your help, even though you know that your schedule is already tight? As women, we are raised to be compliant, agreeable, and nice. We internalize these characteristics and develop a strong need to please – that is why it is so difficult to say ‘no,’ even at times when we know we should.
By setting firm boundaries, you may fear that:
- you will be letting someone else down or disappointing them – forgetting that they can be resourceful and may know solutions to their needs apart from you
- you will appear less than competent – forgetting that we aren’t Wonder Women and that it’s not up to us to be the savior of every situation
- you will be disliked or found to be unlovable – forgetting that most people admire the strength it takes to hold on to your boundaries and say ‘no’
- you will be left out, ostracized, rejected, or abandoned – forgetting that it’s impossible to please everyone all the time
- you might not have another chance to prove what you can do – forgetting that being exhausted doesn’t demonstrate your best self and abilities
Are your fears valid? Yes, some may be. But, that fear can also blind you from being able to know what you’re doing to yourself, the high price you’re paying for saying ‘yes’ when you wish we were saying ‘no’.
Exercising your right to say ‘no’ or know when to decline a request is an important life skill to master; it’s vital to your overall well-being. Saying ‘no’ is a form of self boundary-setting. It says that you can’t be coerced, bullied, or made to feel obligated by others.
Here are some consequences you should know of weak boundaries:
forfeiting your precious time and energy – forgetting that these are limited resources; when you use them on obligations you don’t have enough left over to use on what you know matters to you
losing self respect for yourself – forgetting that every time you cave in, you lose a little of your backbone
becoming resentful which can lead to feeling like a victim or martyr – forgetting that we don’t need to give up our joy to please others
As with most things in life, you know that the more you practice the stronger you become. Setting boundaries and speaking up for yourself by learning to say ‘no’ will take a weight off of your shoulders and it will help you feel more in control of your life.
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