Learning to Say No * Keeping Healthy Personal Boundaries


Learning to Say No

I know that I mentioned earlier in this series that whenever you are saying yes to something you are saying no to something else. So, if you are committing to something that you don’t really want to do or don’t truly value, you are in essence saying no to something you do want to do and you do value. Again, there’s only so many hours in a day and days in a week.

So, it’s vital to weigh what you want and what others want you to do. Is it really worth the exchange of time and energy that you are going to put forth? Could that time and energy be better spent somewhere else?

That’s the easy part. The hard part is actually saying no. Then, the really hard part is maintaining those healthy boundaries.

Often, we’ll say no to one little thing. Then, we’ll feel so guilty that the next time someone asks something of us, we’ll automatically say yes. What’s more, we’ll even do so if the expectation is ridiculous.

Keeping Healthy Personal Boundaries

It’s hard to say no and to mean it. After all, we care about others and truly want the very best for them. We’d do anything to make their lives just a little better.

At some point though, we have to ask the question what is truly the best for them? Would they really want you to make yourself sick, to exhaust yourself, or to twist yourself into a pretzel to help them? Would they really want you to put aside all that matters to you to do this thing for them?

By the way, if the answer is yes, then you’ve got to accept that this may not be healthy help but a form of manipulation. Sometimes, it’s really hard to tell the difference. After all, we train people how to treat us and sometimes what we teach is more about us wanting to be needed than anything else.

Saying no and keeping healthy boundaries takes practice. Sometimes, others do feel put out and some get downright angry. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to have a plan ahead of time.