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Learning to Say “No” | Flower Essences for boundaries

Centaury flower essence for boundaries

Do you have a hard time saying “no”?
Do you say “yes” even when you really don’t want to?

This may be great for everyone around you, until you reach your limit and are exhausted. Many women suffer from the toll of giving beyond their abilities. It is hard to be in mental and emotional balance if you are constantly being drained dry. Your mood and outlook will definitely suffer, and eventually your body will too.

You may need to build up to saying “no” by starting with little things. Whenever you are asked for a favor, check in with yourself and see how you feel about it. Try giving yourself a little time and space to think before automatically saying yes.

The trick to learning to say “no” is to use it as a complete sentence.

Certainly, being polite is wonderful, and expressing apologies is often appropriate, but there will almost always be a moment of discomfort at the end of “no”. This is where you are going to want to give in and do whatever the other person wants. Learning to allow this moment of awkward is key to setting a boundary.

The reason it feels awkward is because you may have never done it before, and the person you are interacting with has probably never seen you do it either.

You have just re-negotiated the rules of your relationship and it comes as a surprise. Fear not, a respectful friend will recognize that you are not able to do what they want, and will come up with another solution. And if you find yourself surrounded by people who cannot accept your new boundaries you may wish to distance yourself a bit and cultivate new friends who are not looking for doormats.

When I started learning to say “no” I was concerned that others would think me to be selfish and unkind. What I have found is I am so much more likely to say “yes” when I know I can say “no” if I want. Being free to say “yes” when you want to is liberating, and you can give from an openhearted place – because you know where your limits are.

Flower Essences to support you as you learn to set boundaries

Centaury flower essence for boundaries

One of the primary flower essences for this issue is Dr Bach’s Centaury.

I use this essence often in my client work as so many women have this challenge. The traditional indication for Centaury is for the doormat personality, the one who can’t say no to anyone. This willingness to give is a laudable quality, but in the Centaury personality it is way out of balance. This person will give beyond her ability, and will drain her emotional, physical, and financial batteries dry. You do not need to be such an extreme case to benefit from Centaury flower essence, it can help you if you recognize a need to develop better self care in any of your relationships.
Siberian Yarrow flower essence for boundaries
Siberian Yarrow flower essence can be a valuable addition to a self care formula. All the yarrow flower essences help you develop boundaries, and strengthen your sense of self. The Siberian Yarrow has the quality of helping you share space, learning to peacefully interact with others, not needing to reactively withdraw. Developing boundaries is a daily practice – we have many opportunities at work and at home to refine and negotiate.
Okinawan Holly flower essence for boundaries
Okinawan Holly is another flower essence I draw on for clients who are finding new balance with giving and receiving. The plant has a distinct signature of difference between the male and female (with the male Okinawan Holly a spinier and more upright form than the rounder leaf and softer growth form of the female). I find this essence to soften the extremes, balancing excessive tendencies, whether a tendency towards over-giving or one of contraction and unwillingness to share.

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Flower Essences to develop healthy boundaries

flower essence for boundaries

So many of us have been taught to be “nice” above all else. We want to be liked, and to be nice we must bend over backwards to accommodate the wishes of others. But inside, you are likely to feel unappreciated and stepped on, and eventually you will begin to feel resentful.

Setting healthy boundaries is a valuable life skill.

Learning to set boundaries is a process that involves some self-reflection.

Recognizing the signs takes practice. For many of us, having our boundaries crossed is something we have been taught to accept. If your preferences have been ignored from childhood, and you were regularly compelled to obey the directions of authority, your boundaries have been comprehensively dismantled. Learning to rebuild boundaries will take some time, and will require you to develop new skills such as learning to say “no”.

First, recognize that setting boundaries is your job.

The other person is not to blame for crossing a boundary you have not set or defined clearly. How are they supposed to know what is ok for you if you don’t tell them?

How to recognize your boundaries have been crossed.

Surprisingly, many people don’t recognize the signs of a boundary violation. It is actually quite easy to tell – you will feel angry.

But, you say, I never get angry. And besides, anger is a negative emotion, and I am a nice person. Anger is destructive, dangerous, and bad.

For years, this is exactly how I felt. I firmly believed anger was an un-evolved emotion, that “good people” didn’t allow themselves to express it (and even feeling it was really a bad sign!).
I am so grateful to have read Karla McLaren’s book The Language of Emotions – her work has helped me see “negative” emotions in a much more forgiving light.
She describes anger as an “honorable protector”, that anger, like all your emotions, is simply an energy that moves through your body. Anger arises to help you set and defend your boundaries. It can be as simple as that – when someone starts to cross your line you can very clearly say “hey, step back please”. The sensation of rising energy gives you the strength to put out a hand and say “no”.

Seeing anger as a force looking out for your protection changes it from something to be avoided and repressed to something with a valid message for you.

The anger we fear, the raging, out of control force, is anger that has been denied and bottled up for a very long time. Learning to notice the arising of anger in its early stages will help you learn to work with it so it does not need to become so large and overwhelming.

Setting Boundaries

It is important to recognize that boundaries do not need to be rigid or inflexible.

You can define and negotiate them throughout your interactions with others. Some relationships may require firmer boundaries than others; you may offer more leeway with a close friend than a casual acquaintance. It is a constant dance, checking in with yourself and making decisions based on how much you wish and are able to offer at any point in time. Your emotional responses will guide you and help you navigate.

Flower Essences to help you recognize and set your boundaries.

A good first step may be the Balance I: Caring for Self and Others flower essence combination formula. Learning how to balance your own needs with those of others will always be a work in progress, but is crucial for your personal sustainability. If you are putting out way more energy than you are taking in, your body will eventually object.

flower essence for boundaries
China Rose flower essence is an excellent choice to learn to set boundaries. This rose offers the most beautiful fragrant flowers, but maintains her space with a strong structure and serious thorns. She teaches openhearted giving from a place of strength and abundance.

flower essence for boundaries
Siberian Yarrow flower essence, like all Yarrow essences, helps you develop a strong protective field. When you have poorly developed or undefined boundaries it can be hard to tell where you stop and others begin. Siberian Yarrow helps you interact with others, sharing space while maintaining your autonomy.

In my practice with clients I find that many women have poorly defined or nonexistent boundaries, and often feel resentful and frustrated.

I can sympathize, I have experienced this myself and have felt all the self-judgement and shame around feeling this way. When we work with this issue together it is important to work slowly and strengthen your boundaries so you can become aware when you are giving beyond your ability to do so. It takes time to get in touch with feelings of anger, and to start to release it in small and healthy ways. Flower essences, used skillfully, can help you slowly and safely start to let go of old resentments and aggravation. Over time you can develop a healthy relationship with all your emotions, even anger, and use them appropriately.

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Three Flower Essences to Enhance Your Intuition

Blue Corydalis Flower Essence

Many people think intuition is just for the spiritually gifted. Rare, special, and somebody who is not you.

I disagree completely.

I see intuition as a completely natural part of life, something that is normal and accessible to everyone. It is something that absolutely everyone has and can tap into, a simple skill that can be developed.

One of the definitions of intuition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

This definition shows the basic assumption that the only thought or understanding is coming from “rational thought” – i.e. the brain. This notion is outdated. In 1991, neurocardiologist Dr J Andrew Armour introduced the term “heart brain” after his discovery of the complex and intrinsic nervous system in the heart. The heart is in two way communication with the brain, and is able to make its own decisions. There is also research to indicate the presence of intelligence in the digestive system as well.

Our cultural bias that values only the intelligence and reasoning power of the brain is missing valuable information and insight that comes from the intelligence centers of our bodies. But how can we learn to connect to and develop our facility with this type of intelligence?

I teach many of my clients a simple way to start connecting with the intelligence of their bodies. It is a type of kinesiology, or muscle testing, that can help you get a basic yes/no answer from your body. Once you learn what a yes or no feels like in your body, you can start to develop more awareness of the signals your body uses to communicate with you.

Flower essences can also assist you in attuning to your intuition by helping you quiet your mind, become more receptive to the wisdom in your heart, and develop trust in your insights.

Working with flower essences and the intelligence in Nature can help you connect to your natural intuitive gifts.

Three Flower Essences to Enhance Intuition

Corydalis linstowiana flower essence

Blue Corydalis flower essence is one of my favorite essences to help you connect to your intuition. The trick to understanding the reality of intuition is to realize that it is not a constant stream of information, instead coming in flashes and moments of insight. The challenge is to integrate these bursts, trust in the information, and take appropriate and sustained actions to follow the guidance. Learning to trust what you have received, and holding the knowing so you can act is the gift of Blue Corydalis flower essence.

Alnus japonica flower essence

Japanese Alder flower essence is another essence I reach for to help a client develop trust in herself. This tree helps you develop courage and quiets self-doubt. The essence gives a deeply rooted and grounded quality, helping ease the chatter in the mind and settling into the wisdom and connectedness of the body.

Ceratostima minus flower essence

Little Cerato flower essence is helpful for connecting to the higher self, the guiding spirit of your life. The essence helps you maintain a grounded connection to your body as you open to higher realms of intelligence. This little blue flower reminds you of your connection to Source, and helps you shift your perspective from separateness to unity.

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In the Garden with Lavender Aster Flower Essence

Visit the Lavender Aster in bloom in the garden with Kathleen Aspenns and learn how the flower essence can help you find more life balance. This flower essence helps you by encouraging you to appreciate your accomplishments, taking time to integrate before you rush off the the next project.

Video by Caroline Larrouilh – ProudHorse Connections

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In the Garden with Little Cerato Flower Essence


Little Cerato flower essence is an intriguing new addition to the flower essence library. Many people are familiar with Dr Bach’s Cerato (Ceratostigma willmottianum) as a remedy for indecisiveness. The species Dr Bach made is from Asia, as is Little Cerato (Ceratostigma minus).
Little Cerato is distinguished by smaller, paler blue flowers held in a haze above the knee-high shrub. As a flower essence, it helps you connect to your knowing and to feel more guided by your Higher Self.

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In the Garden with Harlequin Glorybower Flower Essence


Harlequin Glorybower in full bloom is a wonder of beauty and fragrance. The pink and white flowers are held in abundance, and very attractive to hummingbirds. I find the flower essence of Harlequin Glorybower to be very helpful in overcoming tension and developing trust. If you are armored against outside influence healing cannot enter. So, Harlequin Glorybower can create a sense of ease, and trust, and help your body receive healing.