Personal Boundaries: The Power In Saying “No”

Do you want to feel happier and fulfilled? Do you want to thrive at work? Do you want to dedicate more time to your side gig(s), family, and or finances? Do you want healthier relationships? If you answered “yes,” to any of these questions, I have a simple solution for you: establish personal boundaries.

According to Wikipedia, personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that people create to identify reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for others to behave towards them, along with their response when those limits are crossed.

Creating boundaries is not for the sake of someone else, but for your own benefit. You cannot control how others behave, but you can control what you tolerate, and what you are going to do if someone oversteps your boundaries. For example: somebody hits you and you tell him/her to stop, followed with a warning that you will alert the cops if this abuse continues; this does not mean he/she will stop his/her behavior, but the fact that you have follow-up actions in case the situation escalates leaves you empowered. The problem arises when you don’t honor your own boundaries, and expect others to change instead. That mentality makes you a victim because you place the control in someone else’s hands.

Creating personal boundaries can empower you to live life on your own terms. However, we tend to be people-pleasers who lack boundaries and overcommit. Eventually, this makes us feel overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, and resentful. Instead, I encourage you to start saying “no” and “I will consider this, but I can’t give you an answer right now,” without apologies and explanations.

So how do you determine what things to say “no” to? Well, ask yourself: does this support my top priorities? If the answer is “no,” you can respond with: “this is something I’m not gonna be able to do.” Say it respectfully, but with boldness and confidence in your answer and the reasoning behind it. Don’t allow guilt to push you into commitments that don’t serve you.

That means saying “no,” even if you do feel guilty. Feeling guilty is not a reason to continue to say “yes” to every request. Beware of this mindset: if I don’t do it, who will? It is a trap that will leave you burdened with more responsibility than you can handle. Saying “no” takes courage, especially when you are saying “no” to the people you love and care for.

However, you are capable of simultaneously feeling guilty and standing in your “no.” It’s 100% normal to feel uncomfortable saying “no,” but once you start doing it, you’ll become adjusted to saying it. You have to get comfortable in setting boundaries, or other people will set them for you.

Saying “no,” or not immediately agreeing to a commitment does not say anything negative about you. What it does say is that you know your priorities and your worth. We should all recognize our value and protect it. I urge you to start creating those boundaries for your own sake. So, what do you say?

PS: I help physicians go from worried to capable and confident around money. Interested? click this link to book a free coaching consultation

4 Comments
  1. Such important advice. Struggle with this all the time. The committed, responsible personalities that get us into medical school then sabotage our adult lives as we feel obligated to do the best we can for every situation that comes up.

    1. So true what got us here will not get us to where we need to get to. Learning to do things differently helps. Thanks for stopping by.

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