By Dr. Nancy Buck
Are you the person other people go to for a favor, for help, for a contribution to one more charity? Do you feel you just can’t say “no”because you will let someone down?
Have you set clear limits about what you will and will not do for the church group, the PTA, the boy scout or girl scout fair?
In other words, do you have clear boundaries?
Are you afraid to disappoint others? Do you fear you will let someone down if you don’t help out and take on one more project?
Hmm. Maybe the person your letting down is yourself. Imagine agreeing to volunteer only for the events at your child’s school that give you joy and satisfaction. Wouldn’t it be great to know how to set boundaries that don’t disconnect you from others or disconnect your from yourself?
This might help. Before you go to the place, meeting or interaction with the people who impose on you, sit alone in a quiet space. Put one hand on your gut, the other hand on your heart. Practice conscious breathing, taking in deep cleansing breaths breathing with intention. Now follow the rhythm of your natural breathing and “see”yourself at the meeting, with the relative or at work.
What do you want? What are you willing to do? What are you not willing to do? Ask yourself what your boundaries, limits, desires and expectations are?
Are you clear? Stay in your same meditative and imaginary space, and see yourself standing tall, clear and smiling lovingly. Imagine you are asked to do or give something outside of your own boundary or willingness. See yourself smiling lovingly and saying, “I’m so sorry but that won’t be possible this time.”There is no need to give an explanation or an excuse. Practice another imaginary response. “That would be fun. I’m so sorry I cannot do that this time.”Or try “Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’m afraid I must say no.”See if you can actually imagine yourself saying “no”at least three times with love and clarity.
As you enter the meeting, or are approached by your insistent relative or greet your boss, causally put one hand on your gut, the other on your heart, stand tall and clear. Smile lovingly and actually say a loving “no”when a request is made that is outside of your boundary.
Keep practicing this strategy in your imagination and in your life and watch how Mental Health & Happiness improve!