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Where Do You Need To Say NO Right Now?

“We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made up.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Week Thirty Six

This week’s exercise is about continuing to clarify the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be and using this information to implement new boundaries on what you agree to and how your spend your time. If it is not in the service of your goals, it is just a distraction.

Look out for signs that your boundaries are in need of adjustment. Some indications that you could have personal boundaries that serve your values and primary goals better include:
• Emotional responses such as feeling guilty when you do say ‘no’, or experiencing discomfort or resentment when you say ‘yes’. These feelings are an indication that you are out of integrity saying ‘yes’ when you actually prefer ‘no’, or accepting things that you really do not want.
• Not speaking up when you have something to say. This includes not allowing people to say or do things in front of you that make you uncomfortable, and not defining and communicating what need for your personal well-being.
• Interrupting your own goals to give too much of your time and energy to others. Letting people to take advantage by allowing their immediate wants and difficulties to displace or distract you from your own priorities.

1) Begin by giving yourself permission to adopt new boundaries. Make a commitment to changing what you are prepared to accept. Your self-worth comes from defining your life as you want it to be, not from the acceptance of identification with others. Allow yourself to be true to your own goals and values and to be clear about them. Be willing to experiment with a new level of integrity and freedom of self expression.

2) Define your limits in each area of your life to give precedence to your goals. Pick the goal that is most important to you right now.
a. What do you need in order to make the best possible progress?
b. Identify what you want to say ‘yes’ to and where saying ‘no’ would make the attainment of this one year goal flow easily. In other words, which activities that you are engaged in support the things you have identified and which do not? Make two columns. In one column, list those things that you are doing that are distractions that you would like less of. In the other column, list items that you would like more of to reach your goals. These lists provide the criteria for your tighter boundaries.

3) Commit to saying ‘no’ to the items that you would like less of.
a. What things may people no longer do to you, say to you, or do around you?
b. What things are you now no longer going to engage in?

4) Pledge to do more of the things that you identified as wanting to say ‘yes’ to
a. What are you going to ask people to do instead?
b. What are you going to do instead?

5) Communicate: Sit down with the people involved in crossing your personal boundaries and kindly communicate your mind shift.
a. Think about how you will let them know you have spent some time thinking about what is important and acceptable to you and what isn’t.
b. What will you say to let them know how they have crossed your boundaries in the past, and to request that they respect and support your new boundaries.
c. How might you ask that they contribute instead?

These questions benefit you by revealing actions you can take to free up your energies from activities and commitments that do not allow you to live in integrity. Firming up your boundaries, removes distraction and interruption so that you can focus more fully on your goals.