• Practice in the mirror. Use direct eye contact. Practice. See, the world did not crumble. You did not break down in tears. Neither will anyone else. The more you practice, the easier it will be in real life encounters.
• Keep a Yes/No journal. This journal allows you to keep track of when you have said yes or no to other people’s requests and how you felt about it. It allows you to review your own feelings (read exhaustion) on meeting everyone else’s needs. Quite often it takes seeing this pattern in black and white to make changes.
• Check your calendar. If you have issues jumping into ‘no’ immediately, postpone the decision. Others will respect, “I need to check my calendar.” Then check it. Fill in all your responsibilities from work to cleaning the house and making dinner. Be sure to schedule in rest time for yourself. Realize that your being well rested is as important as taking care of others. It will be easier to see the reasons for saying no.
• Pre-prepare your reasons. You’ve looked at your calendar. You’ve practiced. Now put it all together. Write out your reasons, i.e. “my calendar is absolutely booked,” “I have another event/date scheduled for that day” or easier still, “I just can’t do it.” You are setting boundaries, not defaming the other person’s character. Just do it. No guilt.
In the end, you will discover stating your limits becomes easier. You are learning to attend to your happiness/health/schedule first. You are also learning to be honest with those you care about and this alone, will improve your stress levels and relationships—immeasurably. Namaste — GoodWitch
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