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
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 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 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.