Recommended Read: Learning to Say No

Photo by Greta Pitchetti.

I have long-struggled with putting boundaries up in my life. To the point where, when I was talking to a counsellor about how to have a life that doesn't set me up for burnout, she realized she couldn't just say, "That's a good place to set a boundary." She had to walk me through, step-by-step, what that actually means.

Of course, setting boundaries is basically saying no. It's saying no in a way that protects the things most important to you. This isn't a very hard concept, but in the past, I have only really succeeded at it when I was primed in advance to know that saying no was okay.

So I love this Lifehacker piece on learning how to say no.

My key takeaways:

Saying yes all the time doesn't:
-guarantee person will like you.
-guarantee they will say yes to you at a later date.
-get you where you want to go in life.

Like anything else, getting good at saying no takes practice, and you can start with the people you are most comfortable or in the lowest-stakes situations, like people you barely see. Witness how, most often, people will simply accept your "no" and move on with their lives. If they don't, it might say more about them than you.

Win-win is a thing. Saying no doesn't have to mean slamming a door in someone's face and shouting, "I never want to hear about your fundraising event AGAIN!" It could mean saying, "I can't afford to donate, but is there something else I can do to help you succeed?" Or, "I really don't have time to volunteer, but I am happy to lend you some advice if you think that would help." Win-win!

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