setting boundaries


Setting boundaries is hard for me.  I've gotten better at saying no as I've gotten older but it is still not my natural response.

One of the things I've learned in saying no is that sometimes (probably most of the time) people would rather have you turn down a request up front than have you either say yes and have a bad attitude, or say yes and not have the time to do the job justice, or worse yet, say yes and then flake out at the last minute.

Another thing I've learned is that sometimes saying yes is actually the selfish answer.  I have mentioned before that I am a people pleaser and saying yes is a big part of that.  Sometimes I say yes to please someone and sometimes I say yes to have someone think more highly of me.

What I can fail to realize is that my yes may take the opportunity away from someone else.  And that someone else can very likely be more qualified in time and ability than I am.

Also, when I say yes too often I eventually have to say no to other things, I mean there are still only 24 hours in a day.  Something's got to give.  Usually that something for me is time with my family and time to myself.  Neither of which provides for a healthy environment.

I have found that saying no to a few things has meant that I can say yes to more time for me.  More time to dream, more time to garden or more time in my studio.  More time dreaming and creating feeds my soul and allows me to offer my family and other commitments a happier more satisfied person.  One that doesn't feel as stressed and stretched out.

And ultimately, I believe that allows me to be the best me possible.

Are you a natural boundary setter?  Is it easy for you not to become over committed by saying yes to too many people or projects?  Or do you need to start setting boundaries in order to be the best you?

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo, Patty


  1. I used to be bad at setting boundaries, I still struggle. Recently I have come to the same conclusion you have, I have to save my time for the things that really matter to me. I always felt guilty saying no when someone asked for help on a project, but you can't be all things or do all things. We need to know our limits. I also used to feel that taking time for myself was wrong and selfish, but I have nothing to give if I don't keep my own tank full. It's as simple as that. Taking time to experience the things that fill us up, that give us rest and that refresh our souls is essential. Sometimes you have to say no to the things that take from that.

  2. I'm getting better as I get older. But I have not been good at it. So I can identify!!
    XO Kris

  3. i agree - the older I get, the easier it is.


  4. Hello Patty. I have never been a good boundary setter but have improved over the decades. Susan

  5. HI Patty, I used to get overwhelmed with everything that I would allow to be put on my plate. It didn't matter who asked be to do something or what they asked . . . I always said yes, and pretty soon I was tired and never had time for the things that I wanted to do. My husband noticed this before I did. So, he told me that for one week he wanted me to put a pad my the phone and write down everyone that called me and why they called. Also, if they asked me to do anything at all, for that week my answer had to be no. He said to tell them that he had plans for me that week. I had 13 people call me that week and believe it or not 11 of them asked me to do something. Babysit, cook meals for someone, teach their Sunday school class, be on a committee, etc. At the end of the week I was blown away. I had no idea. Before that week I would have said yes to every one that called, unless I was all ready committed. It was an eye opener. Sometimes if you are a yes person, you are the first on everyone list to call. Like you said, maybe it would be better for someone else to do some of those things. Now, I pick and choose my yes's and no's . . . and it's okay, people still like me, LOL.

  6. I used to be a real people pleaser too - in my younger years that is! Now that I'm retired, I realize how much I cherish my alone time and a life that is not full of "must do's" and "shoulds" and rushing and hurrying to get everything done. I've learned not to plan more than one thing for the week, and even sometimes that is too much! If someone asks me to do something, even if it may be pleasurable, and I have a niggling feeling that I really don't want to do it because I already have something else I must do that week, I've learned to just go with that feeling and say no, sorry, I have other plans, and most of my sisters and friends know that I'm a "one thing a week" person now! ... and yes, they still do like me! It's hard to say no, but once we realize that life still goes on and it's not a huge affront to someone to say no to them, it does get easier..... and yes, if we do say no then maybe someone else will get the benefit of doing something that will enrich THEIR lives. Once you retire and say "no" alot, you find that you are loving the times an entire week goes by and you don't "have" to do anything but what you enjoy, are passionate about and that enrich your life!

  7. As some of the others have said, the older I get, the easier it is for me to say no to things. And when I do say no, I don't give a particular reason, just a generic one such as "I already have another commitment." It's no one else's business exactly what that commitment is - even if it means the commitment is staying home to take care of yourself.


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