Do you have hard time saying “no”? Maybe you have accepted to take care of your neighbor’s pet while you are working full time, and raising three children? Or you have that annoying friend who always shares with you all “the cat videos” on internet, and you think (s)he will be offended if you tell her/him to stop sending them. Or you are invited to a party where you know the other guests are not the type of people with whom you have a lot to share. So you know you have to say “no, thanks, not for me” but you feel so bad, you say “yes”. And you still feel bad, but in a different manner. I know how it feels. I have been there. And I also found out the reason why it’s so hard to say no, which I am going to share with you and this article is all about.
Well, sometimes the situation is tough. Because the neighbor is old, the friend sensitive, and the host of the party is inviting you somewhere for the first time. But what if you are the one who always sacrifice her/himself? What if you always find (sometimes even silly) excuses for others and never for yourself? If this is the case, then you are having a boundary problem, and in the long term it can make you sick.
In biology, boundaries are how life started on earth. No boundaries, no life. You have a boundary wrapping every cell of your body, and the mega boundary which is your skin. In a bigger scale, you have boundaries too, in geography every country border is a boundary. Although we like to imagine with Lennon that if there is no country, there is nothing to kill or die for, in reality borders are there to protect countries, cultures and identities. Your soul has an invisible border too, and it’s your job to protect it, by not allowing things that you know are against your interests: by simply saying no.
So why is it not that simple to say that word? What happens when you say no to someone? I know from myself that when I have the hardest time to say no to someone, it’s when I think they will feel offended. They will take it personally. (Sometimes they really do. But I will come to that in a moment.) But sometimes, it’s all in my head. After tons of introspections, I found out that when I can’t say no to someone, very often, it’s when I am not ready to hear that word from that person. I am the one who would take things personally. So in order to say no to others, I have to heal that wound, that false belief that if that persons says no, (s)he rejects ME. When 99,999 % of the time, what is rejected is the offer. If you want to be able to say no, without feeling too bad, you should be able to accept a refusal without too much pain. I believe there is a norm for that: a normal person with healthy boundaries wouldn’t take it personally if their offer gets rejected. At the most, they would get annoyed. But not destructed. So learn to accept to not take things personally, and you will find it much easier to say no.
Now, it’s hard to say no to someone having boundary issues. They will get really offended, even upset. But it’s their job to heal, not yours to sacrifice yourself because they are not working on their issues. So when it happens too many times with the same person that when I attempt to protect my boundaries, they get upset, I know it’s time to move on from the relationship. The other way, would be, sorry if it’s brutal but: soul rape.
So, let’s heal our soul and respect each other’s boundaries. Peace in the soul, peace in the world.