Setting Boundaries, Renewing Our Commitment To Ourselves
This spring, as we think about reawakening and rejuvenation, we’re also thinking about renewing our commitment to ourselves. When it comes to our relationships, setting boundaries is about loving ourselves enough to say no. It’s not about spite or being malicious, but instead saying yes to ourselves for a change.
We may be the giving or accepting type; saying yes when we want to say no, agreeing, giving, doing, and accepting when we really can’t or when we want to say no.
Why do we do this?
We Are All Worthy Of Respect
Often times we don’t speak up out of fear or guilt. As though we don’t deserve to be treated better, or saying ‘no’ may mean we’ll be judged or rejected. Remember that we are all worthy, and being able to set boundaries is giving ourselves the respect we deserve.
So I’ll ask the classic Self-Compassion question: What would you tell your child, a dear friend or loved one to do if they were being mistreated or if they were saying yes when they wanted to say no?
You’d probably tell them to set some boundaries.
Choosing Discomfort Over Resentment
As Brene Brown says: “Choose discomfort over resentment.” We may not feel great about setting a boundary in the moment, but that moment of discomfort will prevent long-lasting feelings of resentment.
We also want to be compassionate, so we don’t damage a relationship that may be important to us.
3 Tips For Setting Boundaries & Learning to Say “No”
1. Get to Know Your Resentment
That is, what does it feel like inside when you say yes to something you want to say no to? Or when you feel offended and don’t speak up?
That feeling lives some where in your body; maybe it’s the knot in your belly or the lump in your throat. Once you know what it feels like, you’ll be more keenly aware of it when it comes up, and hopefully be able to address it well.
2. Rehearse a Few One-Liners
You can probably predict the situations and/or people that push your limits. Be constructive and mentally prepare for them instead of having that anger-laden mental conversation with yourself later about all the should-have’s and could-have’s.
Here are some options for saying ‘no’ gently: “Sorry, but I won’t be able to take that on.” “I wish I could help, but I have a lot on my plate right now.” And try these for expressing hurt feelings: “That hurts, please don’t say that.” or “That makes me feel bad.”
3. Take a Breath
When those moments come up and you’re asked to do something you don’t want to, or someone offends you and you notice that uncomfortable feeling inside, start by taking a few breaths to regain composure and bring about your courage.
Then pick a pre-rehearsed one-liner for the moment.
You Are Enough And You Are Worthy Of Love and Belonging
The people in your life that truly love and care about you will (eventually) appreciate the respect you’re giving yourself, which in turn will help the relationship grow stronger.As Brene Brown reminds us in her Ted Talk The Power of Vulnerability, you are enough and you are worthy of love and belonging.