People- pleasing is rooted in self-doubt.
You want to be liked.
You don’t want anyone to be upset with you.
You fear if you say no, they will stop talking to you.
You don’t feel like you’re enough, so you keep doing more, thinking that adding one more thing won’t be too much trouble.
But what if you weren’t constantly looking for that external validation that you are enough?
What if you believed in yourself and truly knew that you are an amazing human?
What if you looked at setting boundaries around people-pleasing, AKA as saying no, as a way to be healthier and happier. And what if you showed up in all of your relationships healthier and happier as a result? That’s some powerful stuff all from learning how to say no. Wow!
Saying no is not the only way to set boundaries. It’s just a small part of the process. But before you can move on to other parts of boundaries, practice saying no first.
Like anything new, setting boundaries is uncomfortable. Maybe you…
- fear being mean or rude.
- are anxious about future interactions after setting a boundary.
- feel powerless and not sure boundaries will help.
- get your value from helping others.
- have no clue where to start.
- believe you can’t have boundaries is certain relationships.
If any of those resonated for you, you are not alone. People don’t have to agree with boundaries for you to execute them. Boundaries are meant to keep you safe. And they are meant to keep you comfortable. Your comfort may make others uncomfortable, and that’s okay.
3 Simple Steps to Set A Boundary
Step #1: Be clear, and focus on the solution, not the problem.
When we think about setting boundaries, we mostly talk about the problem. The boundary is the solution.
Ask yourself, “What would you like? What do you want to see next time? What would make you feel safe?”
Condense what you need into one or two sentences, max!
Do say, “I’m not able to take care of your plants while you’re on vacation.”
Don’t say, “I don’t know why you asked me to take care of your plants. You know I don’t have a green thumb. The last time you asked me, one plant died, and you haven’t stopped complaining out how incompetent I was. Why don’t you ask someone else who knows more about plants?”
Don’t say, “You should ask your sister to water your plants instead.”
Remember the boundary is the solution to your habit of people-pleasing. The boundary is not the solution to the other person’s issue. It’s up to the other person to make different arrangements.
If you overexplain, people can find your weakness. When you’re a newbie, people can talk you out of your boundaries because of your lack of confidence.
Step #2: State what you need and want, or say no.
Speak your truth using phrases like:
- I want…
- I need…
- I expect…
Don’t just mention what you don’t like; ask for what you need or want. Identify your expectations, or say no.
Step #3: Manage your discomfort.
It’s normal to feel guilt, fear, sadness, remorse, awkwardness, indifference, or relief when setting boundaries.
Guilt is by far the most challenging, but it’s to be expected. Guilt shows that you are emotionally aware and are concerned about potentially hurting others. But don’t let your guilt stop you from doing what you need for your well-being.
You will likely be relieved after setting a boundary. The hard part is over. You did it!
And even when people aren’t happy with your boundaries, it feels good to have taken that first uncomfortable step.
The more you do this, the more confident you will feel in setting boundaries and taking care of yourself.
What is one thing you would like to start saying no to?
Don’t forget to grab your free confidence building guide: