Do you find yourself saying “yes” to things when you really want to say “no”?
Do you find yourself over-committing at work, home and socially because you feel it is what you "should” do?
Do you ever feel that lump in your throat of when you want to assert yourself but you don’t know how?
Do you ever feel like your kind nature is being taken advantage of?
Learning to be assertive and setting clear personal and professional boundaries can be difficult. You may fear what people will think of you if you say no. You may fear you will lose friends or loved ones if you set clearer boundaries. You may feel that it easier to keep going as you always have, than to face these fears and make changes.
The boundaries that we set and the way we assert ourselves have a direct relationship with our self-care. If you are always over-committing to others, how can you have the time and energy to refuel yourself? If you are always holding back your truth, how are you expressing these built-up emotions? The way you set boundaries and assert yourself is being modeled to your children daily. Do you want your children to grow up having the same boundaries you do now? If the answer to this question is no, it is time to start making changes now.
Starting with small and manageable steps is a way to make this process easier for you. Change is scary but burning out and not being able to take care of yourself, or your family is harder. Here are some tips to getting you started:
Start asserting yourself more in settings that are not as important or emotional for you. Example, speaking up a coffee shop when your coffee is cold.
Drop the blame game. Use “I” statements rather that “you” statements. Example, I feel taken advantage of when…… rather than accusing the other person of making you feel that way.
Believe in yourself and your values. It can be hard to stand up for yourself when you don’t value your own self-worth. Working on how you view yourself and knowing what you believe in will help to strengthen your confidence in being able to use your voice.
Be clear in knowing what is okay and what is not okay for you. It is hard to express what we want fluently if we aren’t exactly sure what we want.
The way we communicate is ALWAYS important. Practice kindness in everything that you do. We can be compassionate and set clear boundaries at the same time. Being assertive does not mean being aggressive.
Check in with yourself before committing to something extra. How does this request make me feel emotionally and physically? Is this something I would like to do or is this something I feel I should do? Self-awareness is crucial in being okay to set clearer boundaries.
Give yourself permission to say “no” and make your self-care a priority. Honour your needs and acknowledge that putting yourself first is not selfish, it is a priority.
The stronger your self-worth and awareness is, the easier it is for you to separate your own energy from the energy of others.