How to Set your Boundaries Guilt Free – Being OK with saying “No”
The feeling of being overwhelmed can take its toll on you both physically and mentally. As we all know, stress is the number one killer across the board. It’s knowing how to find the balance in your everyday life that’s the challenge. You can exercise, get enough sleep and eat a better diet but what about the tasks you take on from one day to the next?
Taking on more than you can handle is also imperative to your wellbeing and selfcare. When you keep saying ‘yes’ you keep increasing your stress levels. Even people who consider themselves awesome multi-taskers can feel the weight of it at some point in their life. It’s just not healthy.
Take a moment and think about everything that you take on from one day to the next. Are there things that you could have said no to that are causing you unnecessary stress or worry? Or that could have simply freed up some time for YOU and what you really wanted to do?
Setting boundaries is not easy especially if you’ve never done it before. However, putting your mindset into ‘why’ you need to do this is important and will help you find the peace around saying ‘no’. There can be several reasons why you feel uncomfortable with setting your boundaries, so let’s explore some of them below.
Feeling Selfish – Honoring your health and wellbeing is not being selfish at all! As a matter of fact, being selfish is NOT respecting your wellbeing and stress levels as you can fall deeply into a spiral of physical and mental issues. And what good are you then to the people you love and to your work? If this is something that you struggle with, I highly encourage you to work on creating a different mindset around what’s important to you and setting the boundaries you need. Knowing that by saying ‘no’ sometimes is OK because you know that it will keep you from further stress and keep you in a balance throughout your day and life. Try practicing in the mirror if you need to, pretend you’re having to say no to someone. How does it feel? If it's negative, where do you think that’s coming from? Explore why you have a hard time with setting boundaries. Remember, it's about how you say no as well. Be mindful of your language and be kind when rejecting someone's request.
Feeling Guilty – Guilt is a state of mind that you’re putting onto yourself. You’re creating the sense that if you don’t do what you’re being asked then you will disappoint the other person or create tension in the relationship. Trust me, I totally understand and struggle with this one myself! It’s not easy! But once I started to understand and have a clearer reason of WHY I needed to start saying no I began to feel better about doing it. It’s not up to you how someone might receive that, even when you say no with the kindest most compassionate words their reaction is completely out of your control. That’s not your problem! And I say that with the utmost respect and love. We all have to understand each other and respect one another for our choices. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and learn that by saying no, or someone saying no to us, is not personal. Even if that person says it is, it’s really not. No one can make you feel guilt, only you have that power. If you can achieve this mindset and stay mindful to yourself and others, then saying no and honoring yourself becomes easier and with that, your life becomes much lighter and you a lot happier.
Loss of words – When I first started setting my boundaries I remember having a hard time with finding the right way to say no. So to help you along here are some prompts; “As much as I would really love to babysit your child right now, I’m already committed to other tasks for today”, “I really appreciate the offer, however I’m not able to purchase/attend “X” but thank you for thinking of me”, “You are so kind for wanting me to be a part of “X” but unfortunately my schedule won’t allow it” You get the idea! Whatever you do, I encourage you to be honest! Even if you have to say, “You know, I’m really not feeling up to it today but I appreciate your invite and for thinking of me” It’s OK to say the truth! You should never feel like you need to lie to get yourself out of doing something you don’t want to do. That only creates more hard feelings and potential stress later down the road.
Limiting beliefs – You may already struggle with the thoughts around being seen as a mean, insensitive or selfish person if you say no to helping others. So here’s the thing with your thoughts… they are just THOUGHTS! They’re NOT the truth. If you can remember this and know that it’s YOU telling yourself these things then it will give you the space to set the boundaries you want to make. If you continue to allow these limiting beliefs to takeover and hold you back from honoring yourself, then you will stay stuck right where you are. A good way to reframe these negative, limiting thoughts is to be aware of them and catch them when they come up. The more you do this and become aware of your thoughts, the more you can reframe them to align with your truth and feel safe with it.
From personal experience, all of these practices are easier said than done. I know you’re going to get stuck, frustrated and start to lose hope that you can master any of this! Trust me when I say, the more you stick with these ideas, and your truth, the easier it becomes. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with limiting beliefs, negative thoughts and feelings that don’t serve me but I’m in a much better place where I can recognize them, learn from them and then let them go with a lot more ease and peace in my heart.
You are only human, my friend, and you will fall many times. This is why they call mindfulness a practice. It’s a practice that takes us through a lifetime and brings us more and more joy, purpose and confidence to live each day to its fullest. If you stick with it.
If you’re ready to start honoring your wellbeing, I encourage you to explore the boundaries that you need to make. Where can you start?
Sending you vibes of strength and courage!