I have always problem with saying no to others’ requests since I was a kid. Most of the time people ask me to do something for them and I always said yes to them. I didn’t have any boundaries so because of that I do others’ work but have no time for mine.
I know for many people; it can be difficult to know how to set boundaries or say “no” to others. Especially it’s more challenging for those who self-identify as people-pleasers like me.
After sometimes I realize, when I say “yes” to everything and do not set boundaries with people, I often feel stressed, overwhelmed, and burned out.
So, I started to change and regard myself. First, I wrote the problems that I would face in case of accepting people’s requests. Then I started to count the benefits of saying no to them. For instance, by saying no to requests that I don’t like I have the power to be more in control of my life and have more time to do my retarded tasks.
Then, I started to do some techniques to define my boundaries.
How was I able to successfully say no to others?
I try to uncover my limits and guidelines
At first, I started to write in my notebook what things are important in my life and things that I become sad and angry about when someone tries to harm them or insult them.
I understand that I should trust my inner voice and sense of wisdom when facing a hard situation and that I need to say no.
Actually, meditation and mindfulness are useful for me to practice paying attention to my thoughts and feelings at the moment.
I learned how to tolerate the reactions of others.
I always fear making other people sad by saying no to them but, the reality is that when I set boundaries with people, they may not always have a pleasant reaction.
I accept this little by little and figure out the people who I want to surround myself with are those who will respect my boundaries, even if initially they feel upset or disappointed.
So, I started to eliminate my friends that do not respect my boundaries.
I think before answering.
One helpful way to improve my power of saying no is that think for a moment before giving my answer.
I realized I need to weigh my answer with my convictions and priorities.
One important point is that if you know what your answer is going to be, give it when you’re asked. Don’t tell them that you’ll get back to them just to put off saying no.
I use the sandwich method
I read about this method for the first time in psychology today .com. At first, it was meaningless to me but I decided to use it and it works!
In this method, you should tell the person something positive followed by the no and end with something supportive or positive. Let me tell you an example to make clear to you:
Imagine your friend asks you to go café with him/ her. But you are too busy this week. So, if I was my last version, I would say yes and go, but after coming home I blamed myself. But now I will say to my friend:
“Thank you for your advice. I am so excited for us to hang out and visit, but I will be unable to attend. I would still like to meet up with you. I’ll check my calendar for some times when I’m available so we can spend some time together.”
See? In this way, I say my words to her and my friend won’t be sad at me if she is logical.
To sum up, setting boundaries can be difficult but is such an important part of having healthy relationships and an overall sense of well-being. If you’re a person that always accepts others’ demands, think again, and try to change yourself.