Welcome to day 12 of #write28days! Today the word of the day is “decline.” I thought this would be a great day to talk about boundaries, and saying “no.”
Boundaries, and saying no to things you do not want, are essential in nervous system regulation because they define where I begin and end. If I don’t tune into what I need and want ever – saying no to some things and yes to others – it’s almost as if I don’t exist. I am not defining myself as “myself” – the one who is these things, wants these things, dislikes these other things.
If you don’t have some sort of internal boundaries, other people in your lives are always getting their way, and that is not healthy for them, nor it is a healthy relationship between the two of you. A good relationship is a give and take.
I’m going to guess that we have all heard of boundaries by now, so I’ll talk about the one thing that people often miss – they say, “I set boundaries but people don’t abide by them, so they don’t work.”
That’s the thing – you probably only need to set strict boundaries with people who don’t have your best interest at heart – OF COURSE they are going to trample on your boundaries, because they care more about themselves than your needs.
You have to make sure that you have both halves of your boundaries – first, what you want the other person to do, and second, what *you* will do if they don’t abide by the first part. If you don’t have the second part, you boundary is just a request, not a boundary.
So for example say your sister keeps asking you for money and you have said no and that you do not want to discuss the matter again. You meet her for coffee and she again asks for money. So you say, “We’ve talked about this before and the answer is no. If you continue to talk about it here (first part), I will leave. (second part)”
This person may continue to ask for money each time you meet. You may need to change your boundary – “If you ask me for money each time we go for coffee, I will stop meeting with you” or similar. This is all up to you, of course, and what *you* need out of the relationship. You may be FINE with your sister asking for money each time. Then no boundaries are necessary with her about this.
But if you do set a boundary, you need to abide by your own boundary. Do the action in the second part of the boundary if the first part is breached. Don’t set a boundary that you won’t enforce. It’s hard, and can be very upsetting that loved ones don’t want to adhere to your boundaries, but that’s about them and their weaknesses, not you. It is in your best interest to you and your psyche to do what you said you would do.
Keep your promises to yourself. You are worth it!