Dare to Set Boundaries


How often do you say “Yes!” because it feels like the easiest thing to do, only to find yourself regretting that choice days and weeks later?

This is a quandary I’m all too familiar with. As a recovering people pleaser, saying “No” was one of the most difficult phrases for me to learn. I never wanted to disappoint anyone, often at the expense of disappointing myself.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine — an inspiring and charismatic leader — was refusing to hear my “No.” She believed in her idea so deeply that she pushed and pushed, promoted and promoted, dazzled and dazzled, trying to get me on board. And while I respected her passion and relentless enthusiasm — and believed in the idea — I knew deep down that it was a firm “No” for me. But still, I felt torn. 

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar situation?

That’s when I like to remember Brené Brown’s advice that “daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

So I took a deep breath, and asked myself one question: What would loving myself look like in this situation? 

The answer was clear: Say “No” to her so you can say “Yes” to you. 

So I wrote her a note:

Since you’re a dear friend, and we’re such champions for each other, I know I can be totally honest with you. The only reason I want to say “Yes” is because I’m afraid of letting you down. If that’s the energy I bring to this, I know we’ll both be let down. And as much as I’m an advocate for this and your success, what feels true for me right now is to focus my energy elsewhere, while loving and cheering you on with my full heart from afar. 

While she was naturally a bit disappointed, she respected my truth and thanked me for my honesty.

How about you? Is there a scenario in your life that you’ve been wanting to say “No” to? Is there a person in your life that you’re afraid to disappoint? 

What would it look like to love yourself first?


Amber Rae