How to Say “No” and Set Healthy Boundaries to Find Peace

Saying “yes” all of the time might seem like a virtuous thing to do, but this is an extreme hindrance to setting healthy boundaries in your relationships. Whether you’re dealing with a friend, sibling, or parent, a lack of boundaries is as good as cookies without chocolate chips – it’s not the same!

Having a hard time putting your foot down doesn’t make you weak or unassertive. It’s human nature to want to please others. Humans crave the companionship of another person. It often brings happiness and validation, but it can also bring stress and turmoil.

In this blog, you’re going to walk away (or scroll away) with a newfound realization that building strong, healthy boundaries can lead you down the path of peace you’ve been seeking.

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The Importance of Saying “No”

Imagine going to Subway and demanding a 20-piece nugget meal. The server would probably side-eye and let you know they don’t offer that. However, you insist on them finding a way to get those nuggets for you since it’d be the most convenient option for you. 

After a few minutes of back and forth, the server eventually gives in. Although this scenario would most likely never happen in reality, it sounds completely outlandish, right? It’s just as outlandish as someone begging you to hang out with them or help them out financially.

Every relationship is an energy exchange. If you’re constantly giving your energy away to someone who wouldn’t do the same for you, this is a sign that you need to set healthy boundaries.

How to Find Peace with Healthy Boundaries

You deserve much more than to be tossed around like a disposable toy. There is a way to have more freedom and contentment without jeopardizing your relationships with the ones you love. 

Here are a few tips to help you set healthy boundaries and find peace in your relationships!

Determine Your Boundaries

You can’t set healthy boundaries if you don’t know what your boundaries are. If you’re reading this blog, you probably need some help finding out what they are. I can’t tell you what boundaries you should have because everyone is different, but here are some general places where most people draw the line.

  • Disrespect
  • Taking you for granted
  • Abuse
  • Intruding on your time
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Manipulation
  • Begging

The lines can get very blurry at times, especially when it comes to emotional manipulation.

“Come on! You have to come out tonight. You’re going to regret it. Don’t be lame. You’re my best friend.”

Believe it or not, this is teetering on emotional manipulation. First of all, you have zero obligation to answer anyone’s orders as an adult – regardless of your relationship status. Best friend, spouse, parent…it doesn’t matter!

You don’t have to watch anyone’s children. You don’t have to go out with anyone. You have a right to say no in any situation, and you’re allowed to adjust your boundaries at any time. 

If you’ve decided that you don’t like the way someone speaks to you, tell them you won’t accept that behavior anymore. If someone is constantly coming to you for advice whenever something bad happens, you don’t have to respond. Setting boundaries is a phenomenal way to protect your peace.

Educate Your Peers

It might seem like common sense, but it isn’t uncommon to be involved with someone who doesn’t know they are overstepping your boundaries. While you may feel undervalued, your peers might not understand that they’re doing something that makes you uncomfortable.

Sit down and have a real chat with whoever is demanding a “yes” from you left and right. If you approach the situation with grace and understanding, they will be less likely to feel offended. For example, you could say something like:

“Hey! I understand how much you value my presence. I love hanging out with you, too. You’ve been having such a hard time, and I will always be there for you. However, I’ve been feeling emotionally drained lately. 

I deeply value you as a friend, but I need some time for myself as well. We can’t take over the world together if I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, right?”

Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. No matter who you’re talking to or what the situation is about, make your statement lighthearted and show how much you value them in your life. 

Enforce Your Boundaries

Even if you do your best to set boundaries peacefully, the person on the receiving end won’t always accept. This is when you should stand firm in your decision. Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

If you need to take a break from a relationship – or even end it – to find peace, then so be it. Let go of what no longer serves you. Although it may hurt you, you will feel better in the long run.

Become more aware of manipulative behaviors such as gaslighting, guilt trips, and excessive begging. If something feels wrong in your relationship, trust yourself and detach from it before it escalates any further.

Talk to a Therapist

If maintaining healthy boundaries is difficult for you, there may be some deep-rooted issues in your past that you need to address. We all have a few skeletons in the closet. You might not even know they’re there!

Talking to a licensed therapist who is trained to help you identify problems in your life so you can tackle them head-on can save you a lot of time and confusion. Don’t think that talking to a therapist means you’re broken either because anyone can benefit from a therapy session (or two…or three).

Choosing a therapist who specializes in issues you’re dealing with makes the entire process much more pleasant. Think about whether you’re experiencing problems in any of these areas:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Privacy
  • Personal space
  • Communication
  • Sex
  • Finances
  • Emotions
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No matter what your situation is, there is a therapist out there who will welcome you with non-judgmental and open arms. Stay strong and get your tongue muscles ready to say a lot more “no’s.”

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ngozitherapy if you want to stay connected!

Ngozi Ojukwu

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