If you’re anything like me, the idea of saying yes when asked for just about anything – helping others, showing up when a friend is in need, giving what you can when you know someone is lacking – feels really rewarding. Even when I don’t have the time, energy, or resources to give, I have often found a way to make it happen. And that act of giving, whether it’s time, money, items, a place for someone to stay, often creates a ripple effect of more giving, right? We’ve all read the feel-good stories about strangers paying for the coffee of the people behind them, and seen the inspiring impact those moments create. Maybe we’ve even shed a tear or two as we see these moments unfold (I’m not crying… you’re crying!). It might be time to start practicing the art of healthy boundaries.
While giving and saying “yes” are such a positive part of our human experience, there are times when we give too much and begin to lose the sanctity of honoring ourselves, and our own needs. Can you relate?
Have you ever said “yes” to a request from a friend, family member, co-worker, roommate when you knew in your gut you wanted to say “no”? Then felt waves of frustration, resentment or anger, while fulfilling that “yes”?
Those are signs of an internal distortion of boundaries – saying yes when you want to say no, giving when you are in need. That distortion eventually creates negative emotions, strained relationships, lack of time and resources for your own well-being, internal friction and, ultimately, unhealthy patterns. It can also create feelings of being taken advantage of, exploited for your kindness rather than being respected, which adds to amplifies the resentment even more.
If any of this feels familiar, there is great news – becoming aware of that imbalance is the key to creating positive change! Feeling into your decisions to gut-check if giving a “yes” or “no” is in your highest good allows you to define your needs, set your boundaries, and infuse self-respect into your every action and choice. The more you practice setting healthy boundaries, and making every decision while honoring yourself and what is in your highest good, the easier it becomes to do. The next time you’re faced with a decision about helping others, before you respond, here is a simple process to try:
- take a deep breath to focus,
- ask yourself how you will feel when you say “yes” and sit with that feeling,
- then ask yourself how you will feel when you say “no” and sit with that feeling,
- then trust the insights that exercise gave you and respond based on which answer FEELS aligned, FEELS good.
Remember, this takes practice! And the more you live in the energy of health boundaries, at that higher frequency, you will naturally become a healthier giver to others (when you feel in to say “yes”) – all while setting an example that inspires others to honor their own boundaries, to respect the ones you’ve set for yourself. Your giving then comes from a truly authentic and aligned place of joy. So, practice the art of healthy boundaries!
If you want to learn more about setting healthy boundaries, how to recognize the need for them, and what specific tools you can use to shift into healthier choices, I’m here to help!