For a lot of people, finding our voice can be a real challenge.
How often do you say a full no to something you don’t want to do, without any apologies, justifications are appeasing/people pleasing? It can be hard, right.
How often do you say a resounding yes to something you do want to do, and allow yourself to fully welcome in joy, gratitude and presence to the experience?
Likewise, if someone communicates a strong no to you, with clarity and assuredness, how does this make you feel? Do you take it personally? Do you feel resentful or judgemental of the other person? Or do you welcome someone setting strong boundaries, even if it hasn’t gone your way.
What about those people you know who embrace life fully? Who light up when they say a full yes, who are bounding with joy and clarity and gratitude for the things they are experiencing in life? How does being around these types of people make you feel? Do you feel threatened? Or like they are being a show-off, too loud, too much? Or do you find their joy contagious and welcome their energy?
Learning to set boundaries for ourselves can be a challenging path. We are so often taught to toe the line, to not make a fuss, to appease and, especially as women, to not be “too much.” So, at first, setting boundaries can feel incredibly uncomfortable, especially when we know that those we are setting them with may not like what we are communicating.
Setting healthy boundaries is one of the greatest forms of self-love and self-respect. Lathering ourselves in oils, taking baths or treating ourselves to a massage are all important things, but if we don’t show and tell others how to love and treat us, then how can we really, truly embody self-love within ourselves. If we continuously let others cross our boundaries, don’t speak up when something doesn’t feel right and let others walk all over us, we are saying to ourselves, “I am not worthy of having my needs met”.
WHAT ARE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES?
Healthy boundaries can be described as imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to protect our physical, sexual and emotional energy from people’s imposing behaviour. When we know what our boundaries are and how to assert them, we teach others how to interact with us, not only when we are engaging sexually, but also during communication; when we are at work, dealing with our children, interacting with family members etc.
Boundaries are the limits we set with other people to let them know what is acceptable and unacceptable in their behaviour towards us. The ability to know our boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth or valuing ourselves in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feelings they have toward us.
In our previous blogs, we have shared powerful teachings around what having healthy boundaries looks like, why we need them, why it can be so hard to set them, and how to do so successfully. If you would like a deeper understanding, you can read those here first, before you continue with this blog: “Self Respect and Healthy Boundaries Part One and Part Two.”
FIRST LEARN TO SAY NO, THEN DISCOVER YOUR YES
I have always been an incredibly indecisive person. Perhaps it’s the Gemini in me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and how, I’m often the one in a group that says, “I’m happy with any option,” or when deciding what to have for dinner with a friend says, “You choose.” Perhaps this doesn’t seem like that much of an issue to you, but what I’ve started to realise is that a lot of this comes from my inbuilt people pleaser, my “good girl”. I am so used to this being an automatic response that I really am ok with letting others make all the decisions. In fact, sometimes it’s a relief, as the pressure of “making the wrong choice” or disappointing others is something I would rather avoid.
However, what I have also come to realise, is that by not ever really choosing something, I don’t know what I like. By not asserting my yes, I exist in the land of maybe, fluidity, vagueness. Sure, sometimes it is good to be flexible, but I realise that even within my own being, I have lost the ability to know my full yes and I believe this is closely related to not owning my no.
When we own our “no”, we are saying to those around us, as well as ourselves, I am worthy of a choice, I am worthy of an opinion, I am worthy of stating how I wish to be treated. Do you feel worthy of these things?
I also realise that I often ask others for their opinions on choices I am making. It’s good to have a good group of friends or colleagues around you who can offer feedback, but I notice that I am often reliant on someone else’s approval or permission before I make a choice. At 32, I still sometimes need my parents to give me permission and say “yes, that’s a good idea!”
I realise that I still don’t trust myself enough with my opinions, my boundaries, my yes and my no, to make a decision and not require any further validation or approval.
So, I have started recently, just within myself, challenging myself to make more decisions on my own. To send that scary text message without showing a friend first, to making or cancelling the plans I do or don’t want to do, to making creative and artistic choices on my own. And the more I do this, the more I start to experience and see where my decisions lead me. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I perceive to have gotten it wrong, but it doesn’t really matter. I am learning more about myself and most importantly, showing myself that I deserve to have an opinion and that I trust myself to be ok, even if I get it “wrong” sometimes.
In the realm of relationships, this can be incredibly powerful. Men always say how attractive women are that know what they like. How many of us often just “go along with things”, in the bedroom and outside too? How comfortable are you communicating your boundaries and desires in and out of the bedroom? When you learn to do this respectfully and from a place of self-worth, it can transform your relationships.
For more on how to be a full yes, how to stop settling and how to start asking for what you need, pop your email in to watch this FREE Video Series by Chantelle Raven on “Transforming your relationship: From toxic & unhealthy dynamics, to loving & passionate Union.”
Love Raven and Erin xx