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Learn how to say "No", by developing healthy boundaries

How easy is it for you to say no?

Are you able to set a limit that you feel happy about?

Or are you often left feeling burdened by the weight of other people’s responsibilities?

Boundaries are the limits we set between ourselves and others. There are many types of boundaries and these will change depending on the kind of relationship that you dealing with. Boundaries are vital to prevent burnout, teach responsibility and foster healthy relationships. Emotions like fear or guilt often stop people from setting limits. In some situations we may be worried that the other person may reject us, or maybe that they will be hurt by our true feelings.

It is important to remember that saying no and setting limits is not about being selfish or spiteful. Boundaries help others to understand us and how we feel. If said in the right way boundaries can develop respect, assertiveness and strengthen bonds.

Here are a few helpful strategies to learn how to say No.

  1. Decide what you want- In order to set a limit, you need to understand yourself. Are you able to describe your own needs and wants? Spend some time thinking about things you like and dislike. Situations where you felt comfortable and uncomfortable. Consider your relationships from work to home to leisure- are there times where you feel drained or taken advantage of? Identify your emotions. Are you often driven by guilt or fear? By taking account of what you need and feel, you are more prepared to voice this to others.

  2. Remember you are not responsible for the other person - In all relationships, you are only responsible for your own actions. What and how you say something is up to you, but you cannot control how the other person reacts. Not only can we not control it, it is not our responsibility. In situations where you want to say no but are afraid of the other persons reaction, remind yourself that this is not your responsibility and that you have a right to express your needs.

  3. Be firm - After you have decided what you want, firmly set your boundary. Remain calm and don’t back down. Some people may be taken back at first, but once they understand how you feel they will be better informed and can choose how to react.

  4. Don’t assume - One of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is that we assume before checking the facts. Assumptions create false ideas or attitudes that drive misdirected behaviours. Assumptions may be holding you back from saying no or taking care of yourself because you have already determined the outcome in your mind. The fact remains that we can never accurately assume. Rather we need to openly communicate how we feel and allow the other to do the same.

  5. Practice makes perfect - Practicing new ways of being is difficult in the beginning. When things are unfamiliar it takes conscious effort to produce change. Change takes perseverance and consistency. Don’t expect setting limits to be easy from the start. However, the more you practice, the better you will become at voicing your needs in a positive way. In time, you will find yourself communicating more openly, feeling more refreshed and experiencing a different level of connection in your relationships.

For more information on how to set boundaries at home or at work contact us.

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