I often come across in my practice; kind-hearted generous clients who struggle to create healthy boundaries with the people in their lives. They feel obliged to help and support others even to the point of taking over and completing things for them in order to make the other person feel better. However, I also find that this can create a lot of stress and feelings of burden for them.
There is no doubt that it is a honourable and beautiful trait to be kind, generous and altruistic. However, there is a however! Sometimes these wonderful traits can be abused and all of the giving out to others can also be a sign of a lack of self-love and appreciation and a lack of acknowledgment for their own needs, whereby sometimes they see themselves as somehow less important than others.
In order to build a stronger sense of self worth and self-esteem as well as an act of loving yourself, it is important to incorporate healthy boundaries into your life. Many people say to me that when they start to learn to say no, they feel a positive sense of self-empowerment and their self-belief begins to grow.
Some of my clients have also mentioned that when they say no, they feel that this may appear that they do not have empathy and compassion for others. But holding personal boundaries does not mean you cannot still be empathetic. Expressing true compassion and empathy is when you can feel what it must feel like to be in their shoes. This is different to feeling you must take on their problem yourself.
There are several things we can take into consideration when we look at setting healthy boundaries; here is a mini self-care guide to help you on your way.
1, Listen to your intuition, if your instinct is to say NO, then it should be a NO. Saying no can mean saying YES to you.
2, Try to be more mindful of doing the things you feel you want to offer your time to and maybe even make a list of the things you want to avoid doing in the future.
3, Only say YES when you really want to. If you are feeling obliged, then are you saying yes for the right reasons?
4, Try to prepare yourself for disappointment when you say no. You are not responsible for their response to you and by saying no you may be enabling them to take more responsibility for their own situation.
5, Remember you are not responsible for other peoples lives or their happiness, it is part of everybody’s life journey to learn from the challenges they are presented with. It is how we grow.
6, Remind yourself it is not selfish to say no when you cannot or do not want to do something, it is a sign that you are caring for yourself, because you matter too!
Remember you can still be the loving compassionate person you are, both to others and especially towards yourself! I hope some of these points are useful in your journey to self-love