Learn How to Say No

It’s 6:30 a.m. and your alarm goes off. Half awake, you reach for your phone, looking desperately for the snooze button, you go back to sleep… until you realise that you’ve hit the snooze button three times already… you jump out of bed and get as quickly dressed, rushed like crazy to go to work…

Finally you make it to the office, only to realise that your inbox has already been bombarded with a million emails so you start replying back in no time. You only get up when nature calls and your stomach yells for food. Another hectic day and it’s already dark. Time to climb back under the covers…

Sleep, wake up, work. And repeat. That’s a daily grind that keeps on repeating with no exceptions. Is this all there is in life?

Setting boundaries is an important part of establishing one’s identity, as well as being crucial for one’s mental health and well-being. There are different types of boundaries, from physical boundaries to emotional boundaries, and there are also different levels of boundaries, from loose to rigid, with healthy boundaries falling somewhere in between.

Boundaries can be defined as the limits we set towards other people, and it’s our way of indicating what we consider to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour towards us. Being able to know your boundaries presupposes a healthy and strong identity, regardless of other people’s opinion or emotions towards you. Otherwise you might end up feeling completely enmeshed or lost in someone else.

The ultimate goal is to set healthy boundaries in an attempt to protect and take good care of you. Specifically, healthy boundaries can help someone define themselves as a person (rather than simply as part of a group or partnership) and can help someone decide what they will and will not hold themselves responsible for.

Examples Of Healthy Boundaries

If you are wondering what healthy boundaries look like, keep reading because they do exist! A very important distinction to make before hand is the importance of the setting. For example, healthy boundaries will look different with a romantic partner than they do with a boss or a colleague.

Take for instance the idea of boundaries and friends. A woman might find herself in the situation of moving houses, whilst she receives a home visit from a friend. In this case setting healthy boundaries would be being able to express to the friend that she can’t stay too long, so that she can carry on with her packing. Another example would be declining the friend’s request to help with packing, as she feels that it’s a rather personal process. Therefore healthy boundaries can help manage good intentions from friends, not just thoughtless demands on her time or emotions.

Healthy boundaries are vital in a romantic relationship too! An example of that would be asking your partner for a night to yourself, instead of seeing each other on a daily basis. Another example would be asking your partner to make dinner when in need of some time off, or when dealing with a rather hectic professional week.

Examples would be incomplete without mentioning the boundaries that are vital in a parent child relationship even in an older age... In an attempt to maintain some privacy, it’s important to be able to reject your parents’ invitation to spend the weekend together when your intention was to spend quality time with your partner, just the two of you.

How is self care related to boundaries

Self care? Seriously? Have you realised that you might know nothing about taking good care of yourself?

Whether it’s asking for a vacation day, deciding to take a personal day, or just taking some time off for a while, something about time for ourselves just feels wrong. However, knowing how to care for yourself is just as important as knowing how to care for the other people in our lives. You wouldn’t think twice about helping a friend or close relative in need of support.

Unfortunately, self care is equated most of the times with sounding weak, needy, or lacking inner strength since you can’t seem to pull it together and just keep going…only to realise that setting no boundaries can negatively affect all aspects of life. Accepting resentment, anger and burnout as part of daily routine is one way of looking at it; realising that it’s an indication of no self care is a different one…

Ι get it that self care is often a very awkward thing…

Self care could include making sure you stick to a morning routine or that you cook yourself a healthy meal, instead of eating the same ready made meal for the third time in a row… it’s basically the idea that you are no longer using any kind of distraction as the solution to the problem, but you are actually doing whatever it takes to deal with the actual problem… no matter how long it takes or how uncomfortable it feels initially… for example, telling a toxic friend that you don’t want to spend time with him anymore is ugly, but necessary as an example of respecting your boundaries.

Basically self care comes down to living a life where you no longer need excuses to escape from…

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do. It often means accepting your failures and disappointments while appreciating that you need to change your approach if you want to be honest with yourself… It’s letting yourself be normal, he honest, be sincere.

It’s sometimes accepting that you can’t be everything for everyone else, but instead admitting how much of your anxiety comes from not saying no, and how much comes from the way you were raised before you knew what was happening, where it was always expected from you to be nice…
Salt baths are important but not necessary… What is important is your commitment in making personal choices that will result towards your long term wellbeing. It’s learning how to stop trying to fix yourself and start trying to take care of yourself… above everybody else.

It’s no longer choosing a life that looks good, but living a life that feels good…

It’s being honest even if that means you aren’t liked so much any more. It’s meeting your own needs so that you are no longer dependent on other people.

It’s becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be.

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