Saying 'No': Honoring Your Boundaries as a Form of Self Care
I don't think I ever really learned to say "No."
Even when I felt that someone was asking me to do something that I felt was beyond my means, I still took on the task. People knew this about me, and eventually I just became the go-to girl---the one constantly asked for my help, advice, time, attention, and energy. In fact, sometimes, this attitude prevented me from protecting or asserting myself in situations where I felt unsafe. My biggest issue was not necessarily that I chose to extend myself, but that I stopped viewing it as a choice. Rather than take responsibility for myself and my actions, I would grin and bear whatever people asked of me, all the while silently seething in resentment at the fact that I was overextending myself or left in a compromising situation. All this did was create a false sense of victimhood within me that took many years to even begin to recognize, let alone break free from.
Although those are my personal experiences, I would feel safe assuming that MANY of you out there can identify with this---especially if you are a female, empath, healer, or other soul who was born or has been conditioned to believe that it is your duty somehow to serve the world. Plus, let's face it, no matter who you are, it is tough to say no. The idea of turning down an offer or an opportunity immediately brings up fears or concerns in us of hurting people, letting them down, feeling left out, or missing some kind of chance that we believe may never come around again. However, receiving opportunities and offers are merely indications that you are doing something right, and that people feel that they can trust you, rely on you, or that they believe in you. However, that in itself can act as the blessing. Just being asked, can be enough.
There are times when we must lovingly assert ourselves and choose our own well-being, time, and energy over the needs and want of others. Sometimes we say "no" so that we can meet our responsibilities, and other times we say "no" so that we can honor our need to be alone, other times still we say "no" so that we can enjoy time doing the things that we would prefer to do. No matter the reason, we must constantly and consistently strive to achieve a balance in the way that we expend our energy between others and ourselves.
Allowing ourselves to be sucked in to every offer we are given pulls us off course from our goals, whether that be in business or our personal endeavors. Even the things that are seemingly minutia in our daily lives suffer when we consistently neglect our boundaries. For example, let's say that you need to do your dishes, but every time that you designate the 10 minutes to do them, someone calls you, asks you to meet them someplace, or needs your assistance in someway. Eventually, your pile of dishes will grow and grow, and your energy to do them will diminish and decrease. No one is going to come and help you wash your dishes, that is your responsibility, yet by devoting your time to others, you have exhausted yourself to the point of inability. Now, you are tired, your house is dirty, and you are likely stressed about the things you have left undone.
This is a microcosmic example of the macrocosm of self care. If we were each to take responsibility for ourselves by gently asserting our boundaries, we would not only take better care of ourselves, but we would have energy left over to devote to others when we want or need to. By feeling cared for and secure by and in ourselves, we are enlivened and awakened to happier, healthier, and more high-functioning versions of ourselves, ready to take on whatever we choose to commit ourselves to. In this way, we achieve balance in our relationships and lives because when we do choose to help or spend time with others, we are fully present and able to put our best selves into that interaction.
My first commitment is to myself. My needs are my first priority so that I can feel equipped to tend to the needs of others when I am called to do so. I assert myself and protect my boundaries in order to ensure that I am strong enough to care for myself and those I love."
Go forward, babes, and know that YOUR wants, needs, goals, and dreams are just as valid as anyone else's. You are worthy and deserving. Namaste. xo