I often meet people who ask my advice on this very question. It’s a very challenging issue for those of us who were taught that our role is to cater to everyone else’s needs, never speak up for our rights and always say yes to whatever you’re asked to do.
This is especially challenging for many women. In order to set boundaries you’re going to have to learn to say no. It becomes challenging to say “No” when your whole life you’ve been nodding, smiling and responding with “Yes” to everything.
I’m not pointing the finger at you. I’m talking about myself here. I came from a home where I was taught to be a nice person. I was taught to put everybody’s needs ahead of my own. What I knew how to do really well was to please everybody, suck up to people, take whatever they were dishing out and I couldn’t understand why I always felt so unhappy.
That’s because I wasn’t pleasing myself. It means that no matter how good I made someone else feel I was making me feel bad.
So to overcome this challenge you have to first recognize these inalienable rights:
*You are an individual with your own rights and needs!
*You are worthy of love and respect!
*You have the right to live a happy life!
*You have the right to say no to someone or something without giving a reason or excuse
Saying no to other people’s agendas or programs allows us to focus on our own agendas and programs. It allows us to put our needs about the needs of others. It gives us peace of mind where we may otherwise find ourselves feeling stressed and anxious because we’ve said yes to so many things we can’t keep up with our commitment to ourselves.
To learn how to say no takes practice, practice, practice
1. Start by saying no to little things in situations that are not very intimidating or threatening, e.g. something your friend asked you to do for her/him. Say no.
2. Whenever you’re asked to do something, recognize there’s no pressure to respond immediately. Then say something like: “I’d like to think about this and get back to you”
3. Next, check in with yourself. Ask yourself: “Do I really want to do this?’
4. If the answer is no. Respond by saying something like: ” I’ve had a chance to think about this and I’ve decided not to.”
The first time you do this you may surprise yourself at how empowered you feel! Practice saying No over the next 90 days. It may save you lots of stress and, you never know, maybe even some money too.