Welcome back to That’s What Pea Said…
In my experience, one of the most common hurdles people face when wanting to learn how to set boundaries is that they feel that they are unable to learn to say no to others. I’ve curated a list of 10 methods which in my experience make it easier to learn and impliment this essential skill.
When learning to say no, the most important thing to help you focus and to keep your focus on track is to be clear of your vision. In its most simple and basic form, if something aligns with your vision says yes and if it does not align with your vision, say no. If you’re not sure of your vision, hold fire and take some time to think about it. In the meantime, you are still not obliged to say yes to something you don’t feel comfortable with.
𖤐 Following on from this, it is important that you know and understand the implications and the consequences, of you saying yes. In its simplest terms – if you say yes to something which does not align with your vision you will be staring yourself to drift away from you vision. This point supports the importance of knowing and understanding your vision. If you’re unsure and have any doubts, re-visit the first point.
𖤐 In order to feel confident with your decision to say no, you need to both accept and feel comfortable with the notion that it is okay to say no. You need to understand why you are saying no and remind yourself of this until it becomes second nature. If this is something which you struggle with, I suggest writing yourself reminders: on your phone, on a post-it or anywhere that will remind you that it’s okay to say no.
𖤐 It is important that you do not over complicate things and remember that you don’t always owe an explanation for your decision. If however, you feel it to be either important or necessary to provide an explanation, be sure to keep it simple. Ensure that you don’t flower things up, or make excuses and apologies for your decision. Keeping this simple does not deter away from your decision or from your boundaries.
𖤐 Be respectful – whilst you have every right to say no and you don’t owe anyone an explanation, it is equally as important to be respectful of the individual on the receiving end of your ‘no’. The other party may feel hurt and this is okay, their feelings are valid. However, their feelings are not your fault or your responsibility. It is important to be mindful that the recipient may use guilt or manipulation to influence your decision however you should not let this change your mind. Equally, you shouldn’t use your assertiveness as an opportunity to gloat or be spiteful.
𖤐 This suggestion is entirely optional, however it can sometimes be beneficial to be prepared to offer an alternative to the suggestion which you are declining. On occasions, providing a suitable alternative is an easy way to compromise or ease any upset caused by your decision. In some cases, there is no viable alternative, or you may not wish to provide one, however I think it is always something worth considering.
𖤐 Take control and learn to make yourself less accessible. This is crucial when learning to say no and set boundaries. There are a number of ways in which you can do this and whilst I will be sharing a complete guide to this, the first steps you can take are to limit the communication apps you use and the hours in which your notifications are on.
𖤐 Write everything down. This applies to many areas of our lives, however it’s particularly effective to aid us when we are learning to say no and set boundaries. Taking the time to write down your thoughts will enable you to process them in a coherent manner and it allows you to take the time you need to focus, understand and reflect upon your thoughts, should you need a reminder. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.
𖤐 Delay your response: You are never obliged to provide an immediate response – especially when you feel uncomfortable with giving your response. In some situations a delayed response may increase your anxieties however this is something you can distinguish and if you are unsure, take a breather and hold fire.
𖤐 Finally, it is important to understand that no response is still a valid response. On some occasions simply no response is more powerful than giving a response, however this is something which you have to feel comfortable with, in order to drawer a line and move forwards. Achieving this level of acceptance takes time, however it’s not impossible and from my experience can be highly effective.
I understand that these suggestions may feel overwhelming and so it’s important that you take your time and don’t expect an instant change or quick fix. If you have any questions or successes, let me know xo