Boundaries: The Art of Saying “No.”

Boundaries in Amerian Culture

Very often in American culture, it seems like we have trouble saying “No.” If someone asks for something, we want to give it. We may feel afraid of hurting their feelings. We may feel afraid of being rejected if we don’t meet their need, right now, in this moment.

As a result, instead of saying “no,” we instead choose not to honor our own sense of what know is right for ourselves. We agree, not honoring our own boundary by making one verbally, and giving away some portion of our personal power.

The Third Chakra

Boundaries are related to the third chakra, which governs our identity, our personal power, self-esteem, and self-worth. While not honoring ourselves once may not be a big deal, doing so many times is continuously giving away our power. All of the concepts governed by these chakras are interrelated.

The Third Chakra, Manipura.

In a certain way, by bowing to the needs of others continuously, we may forget who we are as individuals. We become so habituated so sacrificing our own needs in favor of others, that it becomes normal. However, often we build up a resentment toward them. We feel angry that we’re continuously sacrificing ourselves on the behalf of another.

However, we can take back our power, or maintain it by honoring ourselves. That can look like listening to ourselves; noticing when we are a yes to something, and noticing when we are a no.  If we’re a no, we don’t necessarily have to say “no,” specifically. Sometimes that can feel a bit harsh.


Some Ways of Sayin No

Here are a bunch of ways of saying “no,” that are somewhat more gentle and less overt:

Reclaim Your Individuality, and Your Power.

1. I’d prefer to ________.
2. I’d like to ________.
3. I’d rather not.
4. I don’t feel like doing that right now.
5. I would enjoy ________ more.
6. No, thanks.

Reclaiming Your Personal Power

These are ways you can voice what you prefer.  Next time someone asks you to do something you’d rather not, consider choosing one of these alternatives. If you have resentment toward that person from so many times of not honoring yourself, see if by honoring yourself it begins to dissipate. See if you can feel your own identity strengthened by honoring yourself, your individuality, and your preferences.