by, Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC, CEDS
Lately, many clients have been talking in therapy about their struggles saying No! No to gatherings with friends and family, no to political conversations and debates about the future of our country, no to work zoom parties after months of virtual meetings and overwhelming feelings. Saying no shouldn’t be a big deal but the social implications of denying someone their wish can be hunting and trigger a lot of anxiety: “what if they don’t ever invite me again?”, “what if they think I’m mean or rude?”, “what if I miss out on a great opportunity?”, “what if they won’t accept it? Or accept me?”, “I don’t have the right to say no!” How many times do you say, "Yes" when you really mean "no" because you are afraid? And why is saying no so important?
“No” keeps you truthful to yourself and away from hoarding resentments. It keeps you compassionate and in charge of your life. People will continue asking and will understand or not your “no”, but at the end you have to make sure that you honor your beliefs and levels of comfort especially during this “strange times”. Assertiveness and boundaries are meant to keep you truthful, accountable, and engaged with others from an authentic place, which ultimately leads to improving your interpersonal relationships. As a result, you might think that this process will be supported by others. Well, don’t count on it. In fact, people may resist you saying “no”… and react with frustration and bitterness, often times taking you for a guilt trip, especially when they are used to saying yes. You can validate their frustration by saying “I can understand your frustration and disappointment about me not wanting to come to your house for a big holiday party. It sounds like fun and perhaps in the future I can be part of it again. However, right now, I want to stay home and celebrate with my family. I hope you understand.” Holding the boundary and letting go of approval is key in this process. As Brene Brown says: “Choose discomfort over resentment.”
Right now, compassion and understanding are so important as we continue to navigate the pandemic and get use of the new ways of socializing, What boundary can you add today to help set you up for successful relationships? This month, our Home For Balance theme is “Assertiveness and Boundaries”. Boundaries are limits that will help you prioritize yourself and your goals, stay safe and grounded this holiday season. This time of year, one of the first things we often de-prioritize is taking care of ourselves. Remember, this year put your physical and emotional health first. Setting boundaries isn't selfish, it's self-love!
"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even
when we risk disappointing others"
Watch a video on Boundaries by Brene Brown:
CAROLINA GAVIRIA, LMHC, NCC, CEDS Eating Disorder, Substance Abuse and Trauma Expert
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