Last week I talked about setting boundaries and how absolutely important that is! The other side of boundaries is that you need to be able to say yes too! Often, we lax on our boundaries for others but are rigid with the ones we have on ourselves.
Have you ever found yourself really wanting to do something like starting a yoga class, or taking a trip with a friend, or even something as simple as going for a massage? We (at least I do) set boundaries around saying yes, “I will take that class when I lose 5 pounds”, “I will go on that trip when things slow down at work”, “I will go for a massage after I finish my spring cleaning”. Whatever it is, we set ourselves a boundary that stops us from doing something we really want to do.
Why is that?
In The Power of Vulnerability, author Brene Brown says we do this because a “shame gremlin” pops into our heads and we don’t feel good enough to say yes. We don’t join the class because we are not slim enough to be in a yoga class, we are not productive enough to take the trip, not clean enough to have the massage. Does this sound familiar?
It sure did for me! I was always saying, to myself, “When I am fitter I’ll take that class”, “When I am better at photoshop I’ll sell my pictures”, “When I have this work completed then I can take that trip”. There are a couple problems with this. The first being, is there ever going to be a time when we do feel enough? We tend to keep moving the milestone and never get to the “yes”! So you may lose those 5 pounds, but then the thought becomes “I’ll join the yoga class when I am more flexible”, or “I’ll take the trip when this next client gets on track”, or “I’ll go for the massage when I clean out the garage, too!” And on and on the cycle goes. Never saying “yes” because we never measure up to the qualifiers. The second problem: When we say “no” to something we really want, we are left regretting not having that experience.
What I have realized!
I place these boundaries on myself and I miss out on opportunities that would bring me joy! Once you take all the beliefs, fear and judgments out of it, you realize this is crazy!!! When I realized this, I decided to start asking myself, “What would I say to a friend?” Doing this keeps me in check, because of course, I would say to a friend, “That’s crazy! Take the class, go on the trip, go for the massage!”
What I have decided!
In my life, I would rather have the discomfort of facing the self judgments, and saying “yes”. Now, I practice going for what I want to do, when I want to do it. I have decided that I would rather have the slight discomfort now, rather than the regret.
If you have read my story, then you know that when my husband’s illness worsened, he regretted not taking chances and doing the things he really wanted to do. This regret was burned in my mind! I don’t want to be 80 and looking back on my life wishing I had said yes more often. Therefore, for me in my pursuit of a joyful life, I have strengthened my boundaries with others and loosened the self-imposed boundaries. I am now practicing saying yes to life, yes to experience, and yes to joy!
How about you? Is there something you have imposed a boundary on that you want to do? If so I challenge you to say yes. In my experience the more I practice yes, the easier it comes.