Are you a yes person? Yes, of course I’ll help you clean out the garage even though my back hurts. Yes, no problem, I won’t go to my son’s birthday party and help you move your apartment. Yes, I’ll go to that concert with you even though I have social anxiety and suffer from claustrophobia.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to set and maintain healthy boundaries in all your relationships!
Sadly, for many people they were never given permission to have boundaries. Their parents may have been abusive, neglectful, or held strict beliefs about their child doing what they wanted. Children need to be given agency; to have choice. You can set restrictions for children, while still giving them some autonomy. You do this by giving them a couple of choices.
When children are given an opportunity to choose for themselves, several things happen. First, and most importantly, they recognize they are separate from you and that they get to have their own thoughts, choices, decisions, opinions, ideas, likes, and dislikes. Second, they get to have a voice about what they want. Third, they learn they get to put themselves and their needs first. Fourth, they start to identify their self-identity through their choices. Fifth, they learn to not allow other people to influence their decisions and take advantage of them. These are important teachings so your child can go out into the world and not be a doormat.
If you have difficulty saying no, this will affect how you interact in all your relationships. When you do things you don’t want to do time and time again, you start to become bitter, angry, and resentful. Being resentful is a relationship killer. The person has likely no idea why you are so angry at them because you never speak up about what you want and need from them or tell them when they’ve done something you don’t like. It’s not easy finding your voice, but you need to start finding small ways to assert yourself.
So how do you say no? Because you like to say yes, the first thing is you will not give them a direct answer. You will say, “I’m not sure, I’ll get back to you in…” then you state a time “an hour,” “a day,” or “a week.” Then you will go somewhere quiet and check in with your body, not your head. Your head will tell you, “you have to,” “you should,” or “they won’t be your friend anymore if you don’t.” A true friend or partner will still want to be with you if you don’t do what they want. They are with you because of the person you are, not what you do for them. Read that sentence again!!!
As you sit with your body, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and then think of this thing that person has asked of you. How does it feel in your body? Any uneasiness, discomfort, or heaviness is a true indication you do not want to do this thing. Then you will have to tell them no. If easier to do over text, do so. Make it brief, no excuses. “Thank you for the invitation, but I won’t be able to make it.” “No, I have other plans.” “No, I’m not able to do that.” “No, I don’t want to do that.” Start with saying no to people who are safe and you know won’t be upset or start with strangers or acquaintances where there is no need to maintain a relationship because one doesn’t exist.
Am I being overly dramatic when I say saying no can save your life? Absolutely not! Everything we do and say has energy. Saying yes, when your body is saying no is a misalignment with your true self, your true knowing, and your higher self. That incongruence gets stored in your body as disruptive energy. Your body keeps building and building these stored points of incongruence. Eventually, the body says, “She’s not listening to us, so we’ll have to do it for her.” The body wants to be in alignment with your higher self and your best interests, so it will now take over by creating dis-ease. You may get more colds and stay sick for longer periods of time in order to slow down and stop doing things for others. If that doesn’t work, your body will escalate. Maybe you will get a serve illness that completely alters your life or puts your life at risk.
Don’t wait until your life gets turned upside down by illness. Start saying no today!
Find out more about setting boundaries, say no, speaking up, and listening to your body in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.