25 Jan Remove the Guilt from saying “NO”
My entire life I’ve been terrible at setting boundaries and saying no to people. In fact, I’m not even sure I knew what boundaries were before a couple of years ago. My entire life was built around people pleasing and making sure everyone was happy, because I don’t know. I guess I felt compelled to. It wasn’t about being liked, it was as though I needed to see others happy. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Even when I did decide that I needed to start saying no to people, especially all of the stuff you used to do for them even you definitely didn’t want to, the worse part was the guilt. The guilt of saying no. The guilt of not living up to their expectation. The guilt of feeling like a bad person. All because you don’t want to feel their disappointment.
Unfortunately there is no fix that will make people not be upset or disappointed with you when you do start to say no and set boundaries. In fact, they might think you are a mean bitch. All you can do is be respectful and kind when you say ‘no’. Their reaction is theirs and you feeling guilty is taking on something that you can’t control.
Removing the guilty feeling with a 1,2,3 step process isn’t going to happen either. You have to say your ‘no’ with kindness and love and speak through that guilty feeling. I’d suggest rehearsing your response to yourself, take deep breaths, remind yourself that you are loved (Ideally in front of a mirror). The more you rehearse, the more the guilt erodes. Keep it short and sweet – the longer the explanation – the more room you give yourself to say reverse and say yes. Hate when that happens. I even created mantras and recited them every morning and night. Plus I’d drink a cup of tea or do a 1 minute meditation before I knew I was going to have an uneasy conversation. This helped to reduce my anxiety. I wasn’t joking when I said saying no was a huge issue for me.
Unfortunately there is no fix that will make people not be upset or disappointed with you when you do start to say no and set boundaries.
You have to say your ‘no’ with kindness and love and speak through that guilty feeling.
So while I’m not perfect at setting my boundaries, I’ve gotten better and learnt some truths along the way.
- It isn’t my fault that I have a hard time saying no to people – I guess I’m just hardwired that way. I’ve accepted it and no longer judge myself.
- I’m not a mean, uncaring person because I have chosen to take care of myself.
- There are no right or wrong boundaries. My life. My rules. I get to decide where, when and how I set boundaries for my happiness, comfort and peace of mind.
- Feeling guilty doesn’t mean I actually did anything wrong. It’s just the shame that I carry around from society telling me that I must always be accommodating as a female. Be the good girl and put others before myself. This shame only drove me crazy, added to my feelings of low self worth and stressed me out. This in turn led to me making poor decisions.
Be kind to others by being kind to yourself first. Just say no with love and with kindness.
Do you struggle with saying no? Have you learnt techniques that have help you overcome the guilt of setting boundaries? Share your tips in the comments below.