I looked up and was absolutely terrified. The person I trusted so fully was angry at me for stating my boundaries. My mind was racing. I began to have flashbacks to the moment when my choice was taken from me. My heart was pounding so heavy, the sound filled my ears.
The more I protested, the louder his voice became. I never thought he would act like this, but I knew that this was it. It was now or never.
I got up and while I was grabbing my things he told me that I was overreacting and this wasn’t necessary.
But I couldn’t stay – not anymore. I knew that if I didn’t stand firm in my boundaries now, that it would be completely downhill from here. I knew that if I allowed my boundaries to be thrown out, then anything I said from there on had no merit.
In this moment, I said no. My brain was pelting me with every reason in the book to just give in. To just let it go, that it wouldn’t be that bad, that having him around was better than being alone, that I was overreacting. But I pressed on and got out.
It was at that moment that respect for myself grew and I knew that I would never again allow myself to be treated any less than I deserve.
It took me a long time to get to this point. It wasn’t easy. I’ve since been asked by the friends I told how I did it. They don’t know how to say no and they don’t know why.
I thought about it and realized that it wasn’t something that came easily. It came from the result of the work I’ve been doing for the last year.
I broke it down step by step and decided to share it with you.
Here is the exact steps that I took to get to a place where I could confidently say no and not look back.
The Why Test
When it comes to saying no, there are probably some people you don’t have a problem saying no to while there are others that the word won’t even come out of your mouth. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Chances are you probably don’t understand why you do this. And even if you think you do, it’s probably a surface level reason. What this means is that it’s enough for you to justify it, a reason for you to beat up on yourself, but not deep enough of the why for you to want to change the behavior.
Enter in the Why Test. This is a test that I have found to work incredibly well. If I am being completely honest, it can seem repetitive and annoying. But if you stick with it and do the work, I promise it will help.
The Why Test is basically what it sounds like. It’s asking yourself ‘why’ repetitively to get to the root of the problem. It’s digging in and finding the ‘why’ behind your struggle to say no to some people but not to others.
Pull out a journal or record yourself having this conversation. This needs to be documented in some way so you can dig into it.
First, think of a time where you struggled to say no. Why couldn’t you say no?
Write down the answer. Maybe it’s because you were afraid that he wouldn’t stay with you.
Why does that bother you?
Maybe you’re afraid to be alone.
Why are you afraid to be alone?
Maybe it’s because you feel unwanted and if he leaves you, then that makes you right.
Why does being alone make you feel unwanted?
Do you see how this gets deeper and deeper?
The deeper you go into your why, the more clear your journey becomes.
You have to make the conscious decision as to what you’re going to allow and what you’re not going to allow.
If you don’t know what you’re ok with, you’re not going to be properly prepared when the time comes. So the first part of setting boundaries is creating them.
You get to decide what they are. No one has to tell you what you’re ok with and what you’re not ok with. That’s all on you.
Take some time and figure out what you’re going to say yes to and what you’re going to say no to. That’s a boundary. Once you set it, you’re able to keep it.
Once you create that boundary you need to communicate it with whomever you’re with.
These can be boundaries with a romantic partner, a friend, a coworker.
Once you create and communicate that boundary, it’s up to you to keep it.
While this is definitely easier said than done, it’s something that needs to be done. This is where most people usually get stuck.
When you’re in a situation where your boundaries are tested, this can be tricky. But this is also where a solid ‘why’ comes in. You need to understand why you want to keep your boundaries, why they’re important to you.
So now it’s time to do another Why Test. Take the time to think about the boundaries that you created and why you created them. Don’t rush this process – allow yourself to dig deep about your why.
After you have your why, visualize the situations you might find yourself in. Think about how you’d handle it. Sit back, close your eyes, and put yourself in that moment. Think about what’s going to be running through your mind. Think about how you’d respond. Think about how you’d truly react.
So many studies have shown that your brain doesn’t fully see the difference between strong visualization and actually living in the moment. So take the time to see it through.
Every day, practice visualizing the situations. You’ll then be so much more prepared when the time comes to keep your boundaries.
Another big part of keeping boundaries is accepting the fact that it is NOT your job to coddle someone else. Your boundaries are not there for someone else’s benefit. Your boundaries are there for YOUR benefit and yours alone.
If your boundaries make someone else uncomfortable, that’s on them. You are not obligated to change yourself or your boundaries for anyone else. You are obligated, however, to do what’s best for you.
Give yourself grace
Not every situation is going to go as planned. There are going to be times that you slip up.
And that’s ok.
You’re only human. So stop beating yourself up for not living up to what you think you should be doing.
Don’t go out of your way to slip up, don’t use grace as an excuse. But for those times when it does happen, forgive yourself. Admit that you are human and you deserve the same grace that you give to others. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you.
Just use that as a learning moment. Think about what happened, what you could’ve done differently. Then use that to help you in the next experience.
Let’s Wrap it Up
When it comes to saying ‘no,’ it’s a lot easier said than done. When you’ve struggled with boundaries in the past, this can be even harder. But girl, you deserve to say no. You have the right to decide what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do. Your life is yours.
It’s going to take work, it’s going to take time, but if you stick to it, you’re going to find yourself saying no to situations you never could have imagined before.
Find out why saying no is a struggle to you, set your boundaries, keep those boundaries, but always give yourself so much grace.
You’ve got this, boo. I believe in you.
As someone who is recovering from an abusive past, I know the struggle. I know how much fear the idea of saying ‘no’ can bring up. I know how hard that second, third, and fourth ‘no’ can be.
But I promise that it does get easier.
That’s why I created Worthy. It’s a group coaching program to help women in abuse recovery. Whether you got out last week or 10 years ago, this program can help you get your life back, see your worth, and find the independence you’ve been too scared to ask for.
Your life is worth showing up for. You are worthy of every dream in your heart. You’ve just got to go after it.
Worthy. only opens up a few times a year because I give this group my full attention. Spots are limited to keep it as personal as possible. Click here to get on the waitlist so you’re the first to know and get first dibs on open spots! It fills up fast so you don’t want to miss out! Here’s the link to get in on it!