4 Powerful Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries and Just Say No

“People are often willing to take everything you will give them, so it’s up to you to set better boundaries so neither one of you feels taken advantage of.”~ Charlotte Hilton Andersen

If you’re like me, you know how it has felt to be standing in front of the mirror getting ready and preparing yourself for the existential dread that comes with having to go to a party because we couldn’t say no. Maybe you were asked to go by your friends and you were in front of five or six of them, so your anxiety kicked in and made you think to yourself:

Well, I can’t really say no right now because I’ll look like I am antisocial… But really, this week has just been so exhausting and I can’t be bothered to go… But still, I can’t come up with yet another excuse…

“Sure, I’ll come.” And instantly, the wave of regret washes over you.

“How did I get myself in this situation again?

Set Better Boundaries

This is a problem many of us have: we struggle to say no. We don’t know how to set better boundaries. Maybe we are overwhelmed by the ecstatic attitude of those who are asking us to join their activities, or perhaps we are worried about appearing as though we don’t want to mingle with others because we can’t deal with socializing…

When really, we know exactly what we want to answer: “No, I am tired, it’s been a long week and honestly the thought of spending my Saturday night surrounded by a bunch of screaming people is terrifying and overwhelming. I’d rather spend my time in bed, reading my favorite book.

And yet, we still say yes. Oh, you are able to say no and set better boundaries and have them respected?

Well, kudos to you! It takes time and skill to do so, which is why so many of us have yet to get to this point. But it is my hope that these 4 powerful ways shared bellow will help you set better boundaries in no time.

4 Powerful Ways to Set Better Boundaries and Just Say No

1. Saying “No” Can Seem a Lot Like Saying “Another Time”

How many times have you told someone “not this time, but thanks for the invite!”, when you knew very well that there would be no other time. Sometimes, we just know when a situation is likely to be overwhelming or simply too much for us to handle.

It’s in those moments that we need to be careful about saying what we really mean, and not what we think others are likely to be comfortable with. When you feel like saying “no” sounds a lot more like saying “another time, thanks!”, take a minute to ask yourself whether you are being true to yourself. This is definitely a great way to set better boundaries.

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Do you treat yourself as you would treat a good friend? Can you put yourself first for once? Are you respecting your needs as someone who has specific requirements, including needing to be in quieter, less stimulating environments? And if not, why are you telling yourself that the next time, maybe you’ll be ready to be in that environment?

That’s not saying no – that’s giving a person an answer that you think they are going to tolerate. But news flash! It’s not up to you to deal with their response. Your unique responsibility is making sure that you are respecting yourself and acknowledging your own needs and when you must, you set better boundaries.

2. You Don’t Owe Them an Explanation, But…

Whenever you say no to someone, you might have the feeling that you need to give them an explanation that outlines why you are choosing not to do something they would like to do. Of course, you do not owe them an explanation.

However, to save yourself from having to continuously say no, and to avoid situations where you need to say “next time, though!” You have options. You are allowed to say no and you don’t have to give an explanation.

You don’t owe anyone at all. Even if you can’t help a friend plan their event, you still can recommend them to an event planner for instance. 

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3. Saying “No” Is a Way to Set Better Boundaries

No matter how we put it, saying no is a form of boundary-setting. As such, it’s something we need to be able to say firmly, and yet lovingly. It takes the ability to let someone know that we are happy to put ourselves first, even if it means that we might feel uncomfortable at first.

Embrace the power of saying no – you have a responsibility over your own self. You get to choose what you agree with, what you do not want to do, and what is outside of your boundaries. It is a form of self-love and self-respect to follow what you are comfortable with.

You are telling others that while there are activities that they may enjoy and may really like going through with, these activities may simply be some that you are overwhelmed by.

Don’t overthink it; instead, live on your own terms! You are the only person who will always be there for you for the rest of your life, so don’t be afraid to put yourself first. This is another way for you to set better boundaries.

4. You Have Options

You have options. For example, I never realized that I can say no to a friend’s invite, a request, or a party until I became so exhausted and burned out that I couldn’t fathom even leaving my house for it. It’s a form of self-love and self-respect.

You have the power and you are free to make your choices. Once you know that you need some alone time to recharge and restore, it’s important that you take care of yourself! It doesn’t mean that you will hurt other people’s feelings.

In fact, you are not going to lose anything, you are only getting rid of the bad old habits of putting other people’s feelings and wishes above your own. Simply say it from a loving place – it’s normal to feel uncomfortable, but it is best to be honest and upfront right away than to come up with a last-minute lame excuse. Just set better boundaries!

While you may feel like saying no is rude or impolite, it’s important that we respect our boundaries. So, respect yourself, set better boundaries and make them known, and stick to what you feel comfortable with. You can show up and take good care of others when you take care of yourself. 

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Julie Zhu

Julie is an NYC-based marketing strategist. She helps female founders and small business owners simplify their marketing, become well-known experts, and attract their dream clients without spending a fortune.

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