So that “yes” actually means “yes.”
We’re continuing our boundary discussion. Last week we talked about some examples of boundary requests and consequences/actions.
We are the keepers of our boundaries and we’re responsible for taking the actions to maintain them.
Many people aren’t good at saying “no.” Or when they do say “no,” they try to offer an explanation–usually a lie–in order to control what the other person thinks of them.
We often say “yes” when we really want to say “no” because we’re afraid of what other people will think of us. This is part of people-pleasing. (Read more about people-pleasing.)
But when we aren’t able to tell the truth out of self-respect and say “no,” we end up lying and saying “yes.” This is how we set ourselves up for boundary violations.
When we do this, we create the potential for resentment to build in us.
Think about what happens when we don’t start out by telling the truth about our boundaries–by not being able to say “no” when we want to–and end up experiencing boundary violations. We then have to do the harder work of circling back to prevent further boundary violations.
This can look like “standing up” for ourselves because the person who is violating our boundary has been doing so for a while now and not knowing that they are. So now we’re also likely setting this boundary out of anger as well. To the other person, it’s like we’re “coming out of nowhere” with our boundary request and exploding at them for no reason.
If we’re willing to say “no” at the outset, we don’t have to stand up for ourselves. We’ll just simply tell the truth and say “no” at the beginning to avoid other potential boundary violations.
We have to get good at telling the truth and saying “no” while staying connected as a practice, so we can say “yes” to what we really want to do.
Then our “yes’s” will also be telling the truth.
Your turn: When do you find yourself lying by saying “yes” when you really want to say “no”? What would you need to believe in order to tell the truth by saying “no”? What are some ways you can recognize when you want to say “no,” honoring that in yourself, and practice saying “no” when it’s the truth? How can you feel empowered to be the keeper of your boundaries and be responsible for taking the actions to maintain them?
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