Boundaries: Saying No in order to say Yes... to yourself!

You're exhausted and drained, trying to keep up with the demands (real or perceived) of friends, family, work, and your inner drive. You long for more freedom, more space to think and relax, but it feels like the world is an unrelenting cascade of needs from other people.

You need help in saying "No".

Seriously. You really don't have to say Yes to everything!

But maybe it feels that way. Maybe it really feels like if you say no to something, you'll be cutting off a relationship, or disappointing someone, or enacting an aggressive and resentful part of yourself that really... doesn't want to have to perform. That doesn't want to put up with other people's requests of you when you're not getting emotionally fed in return.

The part of you that would rather do the creative projects you're interested in instead of the predetermined ones that cross your desk.
The part of you that would rather have deep conversations than superficial exchanges.
The part of you that needs time to think for yourself, rather than react to stimuli from the outside world.

In this piece I wrote for Psyched in San Francisco called "Getting Comfortable With Boundaries:  How and Why to Say No," I describe what it takes to say No as a way of saying Yes to yourself. It's not an easy thing to do, and it's further complicated by family dynamics, self-esteem, and being able to identify your own needs.

It's excruciating to say no to your parents, who expect you to be a certain way with them and in the world.
It's terrifying to say no to a supervisor or boss, when your income and status are riding on their approval.
It's uncomfortable to say no to a friend who is asking too much of you without taking your needs into account.

Sometimes, saying No in places you feel stuck is a way to say Yes to yourself.

And, if you can take care of yourself, and stand up for yourself, you have a pretty good chance of building your self-confidence and strength in the face of adversity - and of staying true to yourself and your needs.