Set boundaries

How to (happily) set boundaries


Starting this one off with a pun to lighten the mood because this topic is all-too-serious. No means no, and this goes for anything under the sun. From personal relationships, to career, to spending money, time, and energy – you can and should say no from time to time. It’s easy to get caught up, so let’s break it down.

Why we say yes  

Saying yes to things without really thinking them through first comes from a few primary places:

  • Anxiety

  • Desire to be liked

  • Fear of disappointing others

  • People pleasing

 Yes (WO)MAN

One of the quickest ways to fall into a “Yes (Wo)man” mentality is from our childhood. For those who grew up with a narcissistic parent, it was likely difficult for the child to speak up, determine their own opinion, or make their own decisions. If they did, there was likely repercussions for it. 

Children who grow up with narcissistic parents often have the opinion of the narcissist parent forced on them. This leaves children unable to determine their own opinions, and thus their own values.

pink textile on brown grass

Know your values

Knowing your own values, and knowing yourself, is the best way to move forward with any and all decisions you need to make down the line. When you know your values it acts as a guiding moral compass for your boundaries. For example, if one of your values is taking care of your physical health, it might be a routine for you to workout five days a week at a specific time. If someone asks you to do something else in that time, you will likely say no, because it conflicts with a boundary to protect your time to prioritize your health.

Boundaries and energy 

If you do not establish boundaries, then anyone can cross them at anytime, with your permission. This is the quickest way to drain your energy, your bank account, and most of all your happiness. 

People who are meant to be in your life will respect your boundaries, and respect you for having them. Setting up boundaries and saying no helps you to reserve your energy for the things you really want to do.

How to say no

If you’re concerned about disappointing someone, being left out of future invites, or not being liked, that’s ok! This is a completely normal feeling. The next time you need to say no to someone, try it in one of the following ways and see how good it feels:

    1. You don’t have to give an explanation, know that “no” or “no thank you” are complete sentences.
    2. Let someone know it’s not personal against them, that instead you need the time to focus on something for yourself.
    3. If you really want to but can’t, let the person know how grateful you are to have been asked and tell them to please invite you again because next time you are there.
    4. Don’t apologize. No means no, see point one.
    5. Take the time to consider your option before immediately saying yes or no. Let someone know you have to look into a few things and will get back to them.
    6. Know yourself well enough to determine when you are pushing your own boundaries and when you need to enforce them.
    7. Come up with a phrase. If saying “no” feels too harsh, especially to those you really care about, instead have a phrase at the ready like “I’m booked” or “my schedule is full, but next time!”

Don’t say yes because you can 

While you might fully be able or even have the time to commit to a task, errand, or social activity you are invited to, does not mean you have to say yes. 

We often feel that if we do not have a legitimate reason to say no that we can’t, and that’s not true. This is again why it’s important to know your values in order to better establish your boundaries so you can decide for yourself, yes, or no. If you’re still having trouble, know that this takes time and be patient with yourself while you reinforce your new boundaries. Talking to a therapist is an excellent way to figure out why you have difficulty saying no, and come up with new ways to do so. 

I’d love to hear about what has and has not worked for you, please feel free to reach out and let me know!

If you struggle with anxious, self-critical, racing thoughts and consider yourself an overthinker then don’t worry..I’ve got you…Check out The Overthinking Toolkit.

Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.

man in black leather jacket beside woman in black and white stripe shirt

Take the quiz!

Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.


woman leaning on door looking outside

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success (you know) you deserve.