“Boundaries are our way to honor our bodily responses that keep us safe from situations that are not to our best benefit.”
We are not taught or allowed to create boundaries as young children. We all have seen small children saying “no” to their mother. Mom is trying to enforce her control over the child in demanding that they do as they are asked. The child says no because they want to do something else. They try to create a boundary against what they don’t like but their mother has the ultimate control over their actions. In this push and pull process, the child learns at a young age, that attempts to set their own boundaries are met with resistance. Eventually, in an effort to get along with other people, they learn that acquiescing to another’s request is easier in the long run than saying no.
This early childhood programming should be something we out-grow as we reach adulthood. The desire to get along with everyone is ingrained in our psyche and is a difficult mindset to overcome. As adults, we find ourselves saying yes to things we really don’t want to do. We don’t want to disappoint a friend or family member, so we agree when we really don’t. People-pleasing does not allow us to respect the part of us, our inner wisdom, that knows what is best for us.
Learning to say no challenges all we have learned about getting along in the world with other people. The first time we really want to say no to someone, someone we love and respect, can invoke the fight or flight response within us. Our heart pounds. Our solar plexus tightens up. Our mouth dries up and the words are hard to speak. Yet we all have to find our inner strength that will allow us to speak our truth in saying no. The more we find and use our inner courage to speak our truth, the easier it gets.
Saying no may involve an explanation as to why you don’t want to do something. If you have a reason, you can express it, if you choose to. But you really don’t have to explain; a simple “no thank you” should be sufficient. In a work setting, you may feel that you have to agree just to keep your job. This requires a choice, giving in and sucking it up or making a stand if it really goes against your convictions.
The boundaries we set help us to stand up for what we believe in. They help others to know and understand where we are coming from. They assist us in staying out of situations that are not in our best interest. They also allow us to say “yes” when we really want to. Setting personal boundaries creates more time to do the things we enjoy. If you say yes more than you want to, try setting a few boundaries and know that saying no honors your innate knowing what is right for you.