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How do you say NO and set boundaries?

Sometimes you gotta do the hard work in order to figure out what you really wanna do

Be honest, do or did you please other people to get their approval, or do you have trouble saying no to others? Are you tortured by the idea that someone might no like you? Then please read on, because I will help you set boundaries in six steps.

I recently found a video made by Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral investigator, in which she explains the damage that’s caused by trying to please other people. If people try to please others, they tend to overlook the fact that the best person to please is themselves. She also talks about the things you need to do to please yourself instead of other people. Let’s start with step 1.

1. Internal validation

Most people pleasers are addicted to saying YES to everyone because they need to feel that they are needed. By doing so, their self-confidence is totally based on external forces, the approval by others in this case. They solely rely on the approval of other people to feel good about themselves.

The best way to stop being a people pleaser is by doing things that make you feel good, I want you to rely on internal forces and not external forces such as saying YES to everyone. Build up the things you love to do and make you feel good. Remind yourself that you are good the way you are and that you don’t need others to validate yourself.

“People-pleasing is an addiction that pleases no one”

2. Start small

You can not expect to get good at saying NO the first time you try, so start by saying NO to smaller things first. Last month, my wife had a friend who wanted to get dinner together at her house, since both I and my wife were not really in the mood to spend the whole evening with them we suggested to go for a coffee together. Instead of saying NO, we decided to keep the get-together shorter to not hurt their feelings. We started with a small NO, which will help us say NO to bigger things without feeling guilty about it.

3. Giving yourself enough time

Saying NO to someone's personal request can is difficult for most of us but even harder for a ‘people-pleaser’. Imagine a friend asking if you want to help them pick an outfit for the party this Saturday, most people would say ‘sure, no problem’ without even thinking about it.

But more often than not, people get angry at themselves for saying YES without thinking, because they feel deep inside that they did not want to help but said YES to be a good friend. And then you get angry at your friend as well since you are angry at yourself for saying yes, is this fair you think?

You can give yourself a few seconds before you reply when somebody asks you a favor, you can simply reply by saying ‘let me think about it’. This way you make sure that you are true to yourself, and not somebody else. Give yourself some time by doing this, and keep the relationship with yourself and the other person(s) healthy and respectful.

4. Remember your goals

It is easier to say NO to others when you know the things you want to say YES to in your own life. Since a few years I sit down weekly and take a good look at the things I want to accomplish in the next few years, and how I want to accomplish them. By knowing what my goals are I know when to say NO to requests because my own goals are more important than always saying YES to requests from friends, family, and colleagues.

5. Getting rid of ‘toxic’ people

I spoke about a related topic in another article this month which you find below, in which you’ll find ways to remove negative people from your life. We all have that one or perhaps several persons in our life who always wants more from you, they always ask for another favor. That person you have in mind right now, is it worth it to keep this person in your life? When you are ready to get rid of the toxic persons in your life, read this article next.

6. Stop apologizing all the time

I have this friend of mine who apologizes a lot when expressing his unique opinion or view on a subject. I tend to find this harmful for him because of the following…

I feel may people apologize just because they feel guilty because their opinion is different or they don’t want to say YES. But this is wrong in my opinion, people should never feel guilty about prioritizing themselves over other people. If you don’t stand up for yourself no one else will. Now it’s time for you to take action, by following the steps above and prioritizing yourself and your own goals, I believe in you, you can do it!

My own struggle with people-pleasing

I used to care a lot what people think about me, their opinion was leading me so to speak. I was that boy that always tried to have other people like him, but luckily that changed. When I look at that period of my life, I can see that I wasted a lot of energy on trying to get other people to like me. After years of self-improvement (which I am still doing every day), I want to help others say NO and stop pleasing people with these 6 steps. Do you know of any other ways to overcome this problem? Let me know below in the comments and don’t forget to follow if you like this article.

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Freelance translator, Passionate Writer, but most of all a Proud Husband. Writing about Marketing, Mindset, and Entrepreneurship.

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