Do you ever think about why you feel guilty when you say no to other people? There is something inside many of us that makes us feel like we have to say “yes” to others, even if saying yes means that we say no to ourselves.
Guilt happens when we believe we have done something wrong. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries with someone, this could mean that on some level you believe that other people’s needs are more important than yours. To help you change this belief and begin to choose self-love more often, there are three things you need to try.
1. Have boundaries
It’s actually quite healthy to say no, though you might feel like you’re being selfish or turning your back on the people in your life who look to you for support. It’s normal to feel bad when you create boundaries, but having boundaries and saying no is vital to your emotional well-being.
You teach people how to treat you based on your actions, not your words. Even when you do set boundaries, people will try to push your limitations. But know that every time you set a boundary and someone tries to push you, that person is actually disrespecting you and your needs because they’re putting what they want first. You may have to say no to someone multiple times – so get comfortable saying no! Remember that everyone has limitations and it’s okay to have boundaries. You’re human, after all.
2. Feel through the guilt
When you say no, you will likely feel guilt, and that’s okay. Try to sit with it, feel through it, and let it dissipate. It’s worth the initial discomfort because eventually, you can let go of the feeling that you need to say yes to others.
Guilt feels so bad that we will allow other people to cross our boundaries to avoid feeling bad. But every time you let someone push you to say yes, you’re actually saying no to yourself.
3. Talk to your friends
Your loved ones can help you see things more objectively when you feel stuck. So tell someone what’s going on if you’re struggling with something, whether you’re struggling with boundaries or something else. Simply telling someone and listening to their perspective may change the way you think about it.
Next time you find yourself tripped up over saying no, remember that people are capable of getting through things without you! They may look to you for help, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a saving grace to everyone who expects something of you. Set your boundaries with confidence, feel through the guilt that happens when you honor those boundaries, and trust that others will find their way.