Setting Boundaries

No is a complete sentence.

No is a self-care act.

My NO is a boundary that must be respected.

These affirmations are some of the ways I remind myself that it’s ok to say no sometimes. Which, by the way, is not easy for me. It’s one of the lessons that is taking the longest for me to learn.

In my different circles, I’m “that friend” the first one to get a call when problems arise. The advice-giver, the counselor, the optimisic, bright and cheerful one. My high school friends have appropriately named me, Dr. Phil. I’m used to it. I’m good at it, it’s what people love about me. Most times, I don’t even mind it. Most times.

However, too much of anything is never good. Long story short, the shift came when I found myself dealing with a difficult situation. I needed a listening ear and a friend. I discovered then that my call list was shorter than I anticipated. The thought never crossed my mind to reach out to those people who were always leaning on me. I didn’t have a “me” to lean on, and it hit me like a bullet. It hurt my heart, but it was definitely the wake up call I needed.

Now, this is the part where some people say, “They’re just gonna stay to themselves, or they’re gonna do them, focus on them, and “fall back” from others. About two years ago, that would’ve been my solution too. But, there are two things I know. One, you can’t grow in isolation. Two, you can’t change people. You can only change how you deal with them. So, I set boundaries.

I don’t answer the phone after a certain time, I don’t entertain negativity. I don’t let any call beyond family or business last longer than 15 minutes. I completely unplug on Sundays. I don’t respond to anything. I’ve even categorized my friends in my contact list. People are not allowed to just dump on me and leave anymore. I’m so much better than that. Thank goodness I finally realized it.

My mom used to say, access is a gift. She’s absolutely right. Access is a gift and anyone who abuses it doesn’t deserve it. With setting boundaries I said no to everyone else and their issues, and put myself first. It was something that was completely foreign to me, but I have to be real, it felt amazing.

That’s what makes saying no ok. I know there are instances when dealing with our friends, loved ones, or people close to us, it can be extremely hard. In my case, I want to make everybody happy and solve everybody’s problems, the impossible. But, if you say yes to everything, your no doesn’t hold any value.

What I’ve discovered, is that anybody that truly loves you will respect your no. YOU just have to stand firm in it. It’s not selfish, but necessary. Boundaries are put in place to protect valuable things. You should always see yourself that way. Valuable and worthy of protection.

It’s a beautiful thing when we realize the power of our own choices. No is a choice, and not a bad one. Use it when you need to. You might like it.

Until next time, stay in peace family.

JB

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