Do you have difficulty saying no?
Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself?
Does agreeing to certain requests leave you feeling resentful (even if it is within your power to decline?)
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you my friend may be experiencing symptoms of the “disease to please”.
And trust me, I know the symptoms well.
As a bona fide Over Achiever and People Pleaser Extraordinaire, I would constantly say yes to requests of my time and energy even when I knew I had a full plate. I was notorious for double booking myself with different commitments, not because I wasn’t organized, but because I didn’t want to let anyone down. But the problem with that rationale is that I would inevitably let someone down because I clearly couldn’t be in two places at once!
Does this sound familiar?
Or how about this one….someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do/can’t do/don’t have time to do but instead of saying NO, you have the following conversation in your head:
“Ugh, I REALLY don’t want to do that”
“But if I say no, they’ll think I’m not a nice person…”
“…And I really should just do it, I’m just being selfish”
“But I really don’t want to…”
“Whatever, I’ll just suck it up and do it. GRRRRRR!”
Am I getting warmer?
I came to the realization during a particularly low point last year that I have a serious problem setting boundaries and being able to say no to the things and people that do not serve me and are not worthy of my time. And while I knew it wasn’t healthy or realistic to give everything to everyone (and leave nothing for myself) I really struggled with the word “boundary”. It seemed so isolating, so restricting. I associated the word with only negative connotations and for a long time I resisted putting up boundaries because I was afraid of losing my connection to the people around me.
But what I realized about myself was that I didn't think I was good enough or that I would be unlovable if I didn't put the needs of others first. I wanted people to like me, to see the real me and I was willing to sacrifice myself in the process. But the truth is, love and respect can only come when you possess these qualities yourself. When you say NO to others, you are actually saying YES to yourself.
Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you - Zig Ziglar
When you tune in to your innermost needs and well-being, it allows you to be happier, healthier and in turn more giving towards the people in your life. When you put yourself first, everyone wins.
I truly believe that one of the best things you can do for yourself and those around you is to set healthy boundaries. Honestly ask yourself: Does this feel right for me? What do I need? And once you have answered this question, educate the people around you. Let them know what you need from them and then lead by example as you follow through with the commitment you’ve made with yourself.
When I asked myself these questions, it was clear to me that I needed to unapologetically prioritize exercise in my life and give myself permission to slow down. So right now, I am setting boundaries by:
1. Sticking to my exercise commitments (I schedule them as appointments and refuse to cancel unless absolutely necessary)
2. Committing to a daily meditation practice
3. Celebrating self-centred Sundays every week (#selfcentredsundays)
4. Letting go of relationships that are not supportive and inspiring
Now over to you: Do you set boundaries to protect your needs? What do you do? Or are you a people pleaser and trying to find a way to confidently say NO? Leave me a comment and let me know!