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How to set boundaries respectfully

If you’re always saying yes even when you really want to say no, there may be underlying issues you need to address. Reframing how you see the word ‘no’ could be the beginning of a fruitful relationship with yourself.

How many times have you said yes when every part of you was screaming no? How did it leave you feeling? It might be time to consider setting boundaries as a form of self-care, it might feel counterintuitive at first but life coach, Sharon Piel affirms that it is healthy and normal to set boundaries, “and we are well within our rights as human beings to do so. Boundaries are there to protect you.

When you set boundaries, you only give what you want or have the ability to give at that point in time. It is your decision as to how much you have to give whether it’s your time, money or something else, she says.” Noting that people who struggle to set boundaries are usually so called “people-pleasers”, lack self esteem or confidence or struggle with assertiveness. “For example, they may feel afraid of what the other person will do or say if they say “no” to something or they may feel guilty for saying no. I believe boundaries and assertiveness go hand-in-hand. When you are assertive you have the ability to give your opinion, say how you feel and disagree or decline respectfully.” Besides feeling more empowered in control, people know where they stand with you. But when you fail to set boundaries on the other hand, “you can easily be taken advantage of which can leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, defeated or resentful.”

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If you find yourself in a situation where you have tried to communicate your limits but are being ignored, She says it’s important to be honest with yourself and with the other person because having your boundaries violated can affect your sense of self-worth. And if you genuinely struggle to say no, she recommends that you start getting into the habit of saying ‘no’ without actually using the word ‘no.’ “For example, you could say “I don’t have the time right now, but thank you for asking”, “I wish I could help you but I’m unable to. Don’t feel you have to justify your answer. You may feel awkward or guilty at first, it takes practice and it will get easier with time.” Affirming that you will feel more at peace with yourself when you make your boundaries clear and stick to it, “not to mention that you will respect yourself more and probably so will the other person,” she concludes.

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The benefits of setting boundaries

1. When you say no to external requests, you say yes to you

2. You dedicate more time to doing the things you really enjoy

3. You feel more empowered

4. You affirm that you matter

5.You earn respect from yourself as well as others

The book, Boundaries Workbook by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend is a useful resource, available on, R219

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