It won't come easy at first but don't back down from creating your boundaries.
When I was about 11-years-old, my mother gave me a button that read, "I just said no and I don't feel guilty." (Isn't mom the best life coach?!) This made me realize that setting healthy boundaries, though needed and necessary, is often a difficult task for most people.
Yet, let's face it — without healthy boundaries, people find themselves in situations they wish they weren't in. They say yes when they really wanted to say no. Ultimately, all those "yes" responses means overextending ourselves. Then, healthy becomes unhealthy. Quickly.
How do we feel when we overextend ourselves? Exhausted, irritated, and angry. These feelings can lead us to not only engage in unhealthy behaviors and lifestyles but take our anger out on others in an attempt to quell that internal simmering anger and irritability at ourselves for not saying no when given the opportunity.
Because I used to be one of those people, until I wasn't (well, not perfectly but no longer have a need for that button!), I truly understand the challenges and the guilt that often accompanies saying no and standing up for yourself.
In addition to time, practice, patience, determination, and an investment in yourself, concrete action steps are necessary to setting necessary and healthy boundaries. Saying no and setting boundaries in small doses is a skill that can be developed.
That's right. Honor your schedule, needs, and values. Know what they are. Equally important, know what they are not. I realize there are times times when we have to do something even if we don't want to. We cannot escape all of those times. But even those times need limitations. Get in the habit of when asked to do something, you ask yourself if this something that you want to do or feel you should do. There is a big difference.
2. Examine your motive.
Have you thought about why you always say yes to things that you really want to say no to? Do you struggle with someone being upset with you if you set a boundary? Are you afraid they might not like you if you say no to them? Why do you continue to say yes to things?
We are all motivated and driven by different things. Find out what drives your behaviors and examine your feelings attached to those behaviors. The answer may just surprise you. Is this a fear, feeling or a fact?
3. Hit the pause button and take five.
Hit the pause button by not allowing yourself to do your usual "knee jerk" response of yes. Stop and think. Again, is this something that you want to do or feel you should do. Would it be so bad to take a few minutes and telling that person that you will get back to them once you check your schedule? Do you have to answer them at that moment? Probably not. Think about it. And then get back to them.
Giving yourself the necessary time and space to make a rational, not emotional decision is a game changer. A decision that in the end will make you feel empowered — even if it doesn't feel that way in the moment. Eventually it will.
4. No backpedaling!
Honor your initial response of saying no and don't change your mind based on feeling guilty because they will get used to that behavior and expect it again.
What to expect. Spoiler alert! It ain't always pretty.
Many people struggle with setting their own boundaries. When a person starts to set healthy boundaries its a reminder to those who don't, that they don't.
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