‘No’ is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott
Learning to say no isn’t always easy, but setting boundaries is an important virtue of valuing yourself. Think of personal boundaries as an invisible line that defines where you end and others begin. When you define the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others, you have begun the process of setting healthy boundaries. And when your personal boundaries are firm, you will be able to withstand moments in your life that used to leave you feeling trapped, resentful and uncomfortable.
The art of saying no simply begins when you value yourself enough to stand up for how you feel and how others treat you. Saying no helps you to avoid manipulation, as well as being taken for granted. Establishing healthy boundaries allows you to be assertive, separating your needs, thoughts, feelings and desires from others. When you fine tune saying “no” and laying out your personal wishes, it may help you feel empowered and improve your self-esteem. You will enhance your ability to speak up about your feelings and become comfortable when others say no. Setting boundaries is essential in personal, romantic and family relationships. When people know you will confidently stick up for your beliefs, you will gain even more respect as a person.
For some, setting boundaries may mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but just remember, the end results are very rewarding. If you’re not sure if you have set healthy boundaries, ask yourself a few key questions:
• Do you have a pattern committing to more than you can handle?
• Do you feel like people walk all over you?
• Do you spend a lot of time with people who drain you?
• Are you always doing favors for others and never feel like you have time for yourself?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, chances are your limits aren’t clear to others. Don’t worry, there is hope. Setting boundaries can be as simple as scheduling time for yourself. It can be as effective as eliminating extra time with people who drain you and speaking up when you’re too tired to commit. It is okay to say no, and if you’re dealing with someone who won’t take no for an answer, reevaluate your relationship with them. Be clear that they aren’t respecting your personal limits. Remember that you are more important than you give yourself credit for.