Setting healthy boundaries with our schedule sounds like a wonderful concept. By saying no we open up space our on schedule, avoid being involved with things we don’t really want to do and generally feel more mentally healthy. Boundaries are important because they are the way that we communicate with others what is and is not okay in their interactions with us. Healthy boundaries help us have a sense of control over our lives and our schedules. Boundaries can often keep us from feeling helpless or overwhelmed.
So how can we say no? For some of us, saying “no” might be something that comes easily and naturally. For others of us, saying “no” might feel completely counter to how we operate. Our first instinct might be to say “yes” and commit to something regardless of whether or not we have the time to do it.
Here are a few steps for saying no:
Stop and think when someone asks you to do something. If your first instinct is to always say “yes!” then you need to give yourself time to consider whether or not you can actually commit to something. It is perfectly acceptable to tell someone that you need to check your schedule or you need some time to think about something before you commit.
Be kind and firm. Saying “no” isn’t a bad thing. You might have to untrain your brain from thinking that it is. Saying “no” is completely acceptable! If someone asks you to do something, asks you to come to an event or even asks you a question that you don’t feel comfortable answering - it is completely okay and healthy to tell that person no.
Be clear. It can be tempting to be vague when saying no because it feels less harsh. We’ve all said “we will try to make it” when we have absolutely no intention of going to something. However, being clear from the beginning can help from disappointing others or being disingenuous.
The secret to setting healthy boundaries is practice. Setting boundaries may feel strange and awkward at first. However, with practice we can find clarity and discernment around kind ways that we can set boundaries with others.