High-achievers are driven to say “yes.”
Yes, to show up.
Yes, to help a friend.
Yes, to take on more.
I used to believe that if I didn’t say yes, I was inadequate, letting someone down, or not capable of doing it all. I thought that the word “no” could negatively impact my success or how people perceived me.
Yet, over time, I learned it can do just the opposite. It helped me choose and achieve my most important priorities without impacting my personal wellbeing. Because when I say no, I’m saying yes to myself and greater self-love.
The practice of saying no is about setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries are parameters that help protect your energy. They are a way to communicate your desires and show others how you should be treated. They keep you from overextending yourself with commitments, which could otherwise lead to burnout or feelings of resentment.
Saying yes on autopilot can start to affect your well-being. Yet setting healthy boundaries doesn’t mean saying no mindlessly. Boundaries establish a healthy balance that respects others while caring for yourself.
Learning to set firm boundaries and say no is an act of self-love and love for others. Take a moment to reflect on the times when you may have felt anger or resentment towards yourself or others. Perhaps you became fatigued from taking on too much or felt taken advantage of by someone else.
If any of this resonates with you, it might be time to reevaluate your boundaries and embrace self-love.
Why say NO
Enrich your relationships
Setting healthy boundaries creates transparency, which can be a strong foundation for trust in relationships. When you set limits on your time and energy, your loved ones will have a deeper understanding of your needs and desires. If someone refuses to respect the boundaries you set, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship.
Spreading yourself too thin won’t help you accomplish more. Saying no helps you stay focused on your primary vision. You’ll be more effective with your time and energy when you don’t try to manage it all.
Experience greater joy and wellbeing
Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself. Saying yes to yourself means more time to enjoy the things you love without feelings of stress or fatigue. As much as you may want to please others, make yourself a priority by choosing your own wellbeing.
If you’re a YES person, setting up healthy boundaries may feel uncomfortable at first. You might feel guilt or stress when saying no to a friend or client. It might feel unnatural to go against your urge to please others. Yet, wouldn’t you rather honor your feelings and say no, than feel resentment because you said yes when you wanted to say no.
When to say NO
1. Your plate is already full
If you find yourself feeling stressed and too busy to fit in yet another request for your time, no could be your best option. Compromising your own wellbeing isn’t good for anyone involved.
2. You feel internal resistance
Having extra time to spare isn’t a good reason to say yes. When you feel resistant to a request for your time, trust your instincts.
3. There’s no time for those you love
As a high-achiever you may tend to get caught up in all that you’re doing. Yet setting aside time for yourself and those you love is an excellent reason to say no. Prioritize your time with loved ones and do what you truly desire.
Saying NO empowers you to take charge of your well-being and renew self-love. When you set and enforce healthy boundaries, you avoid feelings of resentment, stress, and overwhelm. If not being able to say NO has you feeling exhausted, depleted and on the brink of burnout, you are not alone.
Several years ago, I suffered from extreme exhaustion that led to burnout. I have since learned what it takes to be engaged, inspired and passionate about my life (again). This is why I created my upcoming 5-Day Challenge, From Exhausted To Exhilarated: The Top Five Secrets To Increase Your Energy Now.
This 5-day challenge is for you if…
- You live in an almost constant state of exhaustion, sleepwalking through life.
- You’re forgetful and have a hard time focusing.
- You have difficulty sleeping. (No wonder you’re so tired all the time!)
- You’re frustrated and irritable more than you’d like to admit.
- You no longer have the energy to do it all, so you’re playing catch up.
To reclaim your life, click here and register for my 5-Day Challenge: From Exhausted To Exhilarated: The Top Five Secrets To Increase Your Energy Now.
The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
Make sure to click here and sign up for my future articles so that you receive them in your inbox.
Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.
I wonder what they think about me.
I hope I didn’t embarrass myself.
Maybe I should do this just to make them happy… Even though I really don’t want to.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about how other people perceive you? You might even go out of your way just to make a good impression.
If you put other people’s thoughts and needs before your own, you might be a people-pleaser. While it’s great to want to build positive relationships, trying to please other people can compromise your own well-being.
In this article, I provide tips on how to stop being a people-pleaser so you are able to put more of your time and energy towards caring for yourself.
What Is a People-Pleaser?
A people-pleaser is someone who constantly tries to get the approval of other people. They will go out of their way to meet someone else’s needs — often at the expense of their own time, energy, and well-being.
The Pitfalls of Being a People-Pleaser
Putting everyone else’s opinions and needs before your own leaves you vulnerable to:
- Loss of Authenticity: You go along with others, even if you don’t agree. Failure to stand for what you believe over time can lead to uncertainty about what you really want or how to be true to yourself.
- Not Valuing Yourself: Each time you say yes to someone else’s needs, you lose an opportunity to say yes to your own. Where you choose to allocate your valuable time and energy indicates what (and who) you truly value.
- Physical Burnout: Your time and energy are finite resources. When you don’t make yourself a priority and practice regular self-care, you may suffer from signs of burnout — exhaustion, stress, and overwhelm.
- Decreased Self-Esteem: Constantly putting other people’s needs before your own can cause low self-esteem. You may begin to believe that your needs and desires are secondary or really don’t matter at all.
- Exploitation: People will begin to exploit your good nature and insecurities. This creates a one-sided relationship where they constantly take, and you continuously give.
Why Do We Become People-Pleasers?
If the dangers of being a people-pleaser are problematic, why might you (and many other women) continue doing it? Often, it’s because you’re uncomfortable with conflict and confrontation.
You don’t want to appear disagreeable to others. “You fear that you’ll lose that person if you say no. You don’t want to be ‘rejected’ or ‘abandoned,’” says Psych Central. So, you follow the crowd.
Insecurity is another common reason. Low self-esteem may lead you to use other people’s opinions of you to define your worth. Unfortunately, this dependency can cause you to go above and beyond for other people, leaving you burned out and overwhelmed in the process.
Are you ready to stop being a people-pleaser and reclaim your time and energy for yourself? Here are five tips for making yourself a priority again.
Stop Being a People-Pleaser: 5 Tips to Help You Let Go of Other People’s Opinions
#1 Understand Your Priorities
When you’re a people-pleaser and agree to do a favor, especially something you disagree with, you’re expending time and energy — valuable resources that you could have used for yourself.
Instead of using other people’s opinions to determine your actions, let your values and priorities guide you.
For example, let’s say your current priority is health and nutrition. But your partner wants to eat out every other evening. Instead of constantly relenting, explain to your partner that you’re striving to be healthier. Propose that you cook healthy homemade meals instead.
Clear priorities help you make decisions that better align with your well-being.
#2 Understand That You Are at Choice
Over time, saying yes too often can form a habit. You’re so used to accommodating other people that agreeing to something — even if you don’t want to — is an automatic behavior.
You can put an end to this pattern by accepting that you are actually at choice. You don’t have to default to yes. You can say no to a request if it does not align with your values and priorities at the moment.
If you are willing to do this, I have a challenge for you.
The next time somebody asks you to go out of your way for something, say no. You don’t have to explain yourself. Just thank them for considering you and respectfully decline.
#3 Set Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most effective ways for you to stop being a people-pleaser. Remember: each time you give away your time and energy, you have less for yourself.
To help you set better boundaries, pull out your calendar and start blocking out time for self-care and personal growth. For example, you could commit Saturday evenings to eating your favorite meal and taking a warm bubble bath. And you could dedicate 30 minutes each morning to journaling and meditation.
Blocking out “me” time in your schedule helps prevent your people-pleasing tendencies from dominating all your time and energy.
#4 Replace “I can’t” With “I don’t”
When you’re a chronic people-pleaser, saying “no” or “I can’t” can feel like the most daunting task. It may take time, but learning assertive communication will help you create boundaries and stand up for yourself.
Instead of coming up with excuses to avoid seeming rude, try being direct.
For example, even though you work from home all day, you’re still exhausted when you clock out. But you always have a friend who wants to meet for drinks and dinner. Instead of making excuses, give yourself permission to simply say, “I don’t go out on weekday evenings.”
Or let’s say your friend is always asking for favors and requests. If you’re busy or you’re feeling unwell, simply say “I don’t have availability to do that at this moment.” Over time, people will learn to understand and respect your boundaries.
This might feel uncomfortable at first, but with enough practice, assertive communication will become second-nature.
#5 Restore Order to Your World
Too often, women seek validation in external sources — their friends and family, status, the number of likes from social media.
And sometimes, this behavior stems from your life feeling chaotic and unorganized.
You’re overwhelmed by all external forces: work, caring for your family, staying safe during a pandemic. You might also be coping with internal struggles: poor self-esteem, anxiety, and powerlessness.
To help you feel beautiful and empowered again, I invite you to claim a Complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session with me.
In this 60-minute consultation, you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
- Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
- Tap into greater energy and inspiration
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
Click here now to schedule a Complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.
“Why did they ask me to do that? I don’t have time! Don’t they know how busy I am…and did I really just say YES?!”
If this sounds like some of your internal monologue, I want to offer you support with setting personal boundaries both as a way of self-care and to overcome burnout.
Personal What, Now?!
Many of us women were never taught about personal boundaries or, if we were, we inferred that setting a boundary meant putting up a wall between ourselves and others. Like when you’ve had all you can take, you snap, “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” in your frustration and resentment.
By then, of course, it’s too late. Snapping a protective wall into place is the antithesis of a healthy boundary; it’s reactive rather than proactive, and is a protective measure rather than a thoughtful means of caring for yourself.
But why is it so difficult to figure out and set healthy boundaries?
You weren’t taught to. Most of us weren’t.
Let me explain.
Healthy Personal Boundaries Fly In The Face Of Conventional Wisdom
At its core, a healthy boundary is a principle that you live by. Brene Brown defines boundaries as simply what is and isn’t okay for you.
Sounds simple, right?
Except you’ve probably received a lifetime of confusing messages about what is or isn’t personally acceptable for you. We women get a lot of “shoulds” – we should feel a certain way, choose certain professions, behave in specific ways in order to please others and be rewarded. Which sets up a vicious circle:
You push yourself to conform to society’s conventional wisdom of how you should be. Yet you feel like you perpetually fall short, leading you to push yourself harder. You wind up feeling like you’re never quite up to standard…which stresses you out and leads you down the path to full blown burnout.
To top it off, we’re also given strong messages that self-care – which is essential to setting boundaries and overcoming burnout – is selfish and self-indulgent.
In other words, if you’re uncertain about your true principles, and confused about your boundaries, it’s not your fault!
How To Skillfully Set A Personal Boundary
Since your personal boundaries rest on the foundation of your life principles, I encourage you to take some quiet time to identify your most cherished ones.
For example, let’s say upon reflection you’ve realized that quality time with your family is something you deeply value. Yet over and over again, you’re asked to take on volunteer work that cuts into your family time. You agree because, well, they’re good causes. Yet even as you agree, you feel resentful, which is a sign your boundary was just violated.
I want you to practice saying out loud, “Thanks for thinking of me, but I don’t have room in my schedule to take that on.” Practice it by yourself, or role play with a person you trust. Practice saying this until you can do it calmly. Be prepared to repeat yourself. And, if you can, smile while you say it.
There’s no need to explain or justify your response.
Now ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s something you deeply value?
- What personal boundary might you set now to honor that more fully?
Send A Powerful Signal Of Self-Care With Healthy Personal Boundaries (And Bring Yourself Back From Burnout)
The simple action of setting a healthy personal boundary will make you feel freer. You’ll be caring for yourself in a powerful way when you demonstrate your commitment to your boundary and its accompanying principle.
And can you intuit how graciously setting a boundary will help you overcome burnout? You will have taken a step toward lessening your overwhelm and stress, both signs of burnout. And you’re sending a signal to the Universe that you’re important. You matter. Your principles matter.
While this may in theory sound like a simple step to take, I know how scary it feels to move past years of heavy social conditioning. You don’t have to do this alone. When you sign up for my email list, you’ll receive regular support and advice including:
- Why self-care and self-love are essential for health and well-being
- Powerful practices to love and care for yourself
- Opportunities to join group events
Plus, I’m here to support you. Comment below and share your responses to these two questions from above:
- What’s something you deeply value?
- What personal boundary might you set now to honor that more fully?
Let’s inspire each other to set healthy personal boundaries for ourselves.