Why I Love to Say “No” and Set My Boundaries

When I was young, I sometimes felt like an observer in my home. I would watch the interaction between my older sister and my parents, often with a sense of unease. Some of the interactions were contentious, some loving and some downright codependent. Watching these family interactions, I sometimes felt confused and frustrated. I wanted us to be a happy family, every child’s fantasy. For me, happiness meant avoiding conflicts at all costs, and I eventually became very good at doing this and playing the diplomat. 

Looking back, I realized my family was not so different from others, except there were no boundaries in my home. For example, at thirteen, my parents let me decide where I could go, who I could go out with, and what time I could come home. I could set my curfew. What parent does that with a 13-year old? I believe my parents’ intention was for me to self-teach responsibility. 

I grew up with little to no guidance, boundaries, direction, or support. When I was fifteen, my mother and father went on a European vacation, leaving me home alone. While in Scotland, my mother suffered a heart attack and died in my father’s arms. I inadvertently assumed an adult role and similar responsibility at far too young an age. Any hope of parental guidance and support was all but gone. Never having been taught boundary-setting skills, it is unsurprising I didn’t fare much better with my daughter. Of course, like my parents, I did the best I knew how. 

There are many people out there who share a version of my story. Being a people pleaser is a common condition. I used to brag that I was the diplomat. But more than diplomacy, this lack of boundaries became a self-sabotaging pattern; what I call the people pleaser’s “knee-jerk” response. This response appeared in many of my relationships. I frequently felt like a doormat with family members, friends, and often the boss. I did not have any understanding of how to say “no” for fear of reprisal or not wanting to disappoint anyone. If I managed to say “no,” I felt so guilty, I would go long periods before I would repeat such a brazenly selfish act. 

Interestingly, the Universe has an ironic sense of humor. It seems that the more you avoid something, the more you are destined to bump up against it. When my life partner of ten years unexpectedly died, I confronted my most deep-rooted fears about my need to set appropriate boundaries. The grieving process is extremely energy-intensive. I had to learn how to confidently say “no” and not worry about what anyone else might say or, rather, my belief about what they might say. My survival depended on setting these boundaries. I do not say this lightly as there were many times during that first year of mourning that I did not want to live. Boundary-setting truly became a matter of survival for me. 

After a couple of years of practice, I became very good at confidently saying “no” and realized how empowered I felt taking this action. I felt so strongly that countless others of people pleasers needed to learn this practice instead of avoiding it. I worked over the next couple of years to compile my insights and marry them with my skill as a coach and NLP trainer into a system that I taught to others. I named it The TAILOR System(tm) – an acronym for the six-step system to boundary-setting. I use this system as the foundation in my book, Say “No” Without Guilt, Six Achievable Steps to Confidently Set and Communicate Boundaries. I continue to teach my workshop because saying “no” to others is truly about saying “yes” to yourself, the most important and empowering act of self-love.

I Didn’t Think My Heart Attack Was a Big Deal: Why I Was Wrong

It was Sunday, March 24th, at 6:30 a.m. I finally got up to feed my devilishly persistent cats. Their regular MO is to run around using me as a springboard in order to wake me up and get my attention. They didn’t really care that it was Sunday and that I wanted to sleep in. I slowly got up and immediately noticed the irritating burning under my chin. It felt as if I was trying to have a sore throat; you know that feeling you have right before you get sick? I ignored it and continued to the kitchen and the task of feeding the cats. Fifteen minutes later with the cats satisfied, I headed back to bed, but quickly noticed that the irritation was getting worse. In fact, it felt as if someone was taking sandpaper to the area just below my chin and down the front of my chest to the tip of my stomach.

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End of Year Holding Pattern?

Typically, the last few months of the year are my slow time for readings. I generally attribute this to the fact that people tend to spend their extra time and money on holiday related purchases. However, this year, while there was a bit of a slowdown, the readings that I did give, although each unique were also tied together by a theme.

We as a nation, seem to be in unusual and unparalleled times. This shows up in a couple of ways. One of them of course is politically and while I have very definite views personally, I will not be addressing them here.

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My 21-Day Cleanse Experience: Day 4

The thrill is gone…oh wait, there never was any thrill. Ok folks, this is NOT actually getting any easier. I had a terrible headache today…again. I went in search of sinus meds because it seemed like it was coming from there, but who knows. What I DO know is that I miss my chicken and fish more than I can express. I am awash in disappointment and some sadness at the absence of these simple proteins from my diet. Not to mention, I can’t seem to focus. Every day I ask myself “is this worth it”? The jury is still out. Although my pain is so much less, I feel that I traded one pain for another. Sad face emoji. Why can’t I just have some chicken? I’m at the point where I don’t really want to even eat. Another sad face emoji.

Off to bed where I don’t have to think about eating or not eating.

The Akashic Records-Past, Present & Future Guidance

What are the Akashic Records? The short answer is they are an energetic (vibrational) storehouse of limitless knowledge for each soul. They consist of past, present and future insight and they hold vast amounts of healing light and information. They also provide an atmosphere of unconditional love, compassion, and complete acceptance, while offering insight, clarity, and wisdom to help you evolve on your human path. You just need to learn how to ask for the information!

When I was about 7, I would go outside and lay down on the grass in the front yard of my house. I would look up at the sky and seeminglymelt into its oneness. I knew back then I was part of something bigger. I remember a tremendous sense of peace and knowing. I could lay there for hours and ponder existence. Looking back, I’m not sure what “existence” meant to a seven-year-old. I just knew I was at peace.

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Why Needing External Validation Can Be Harmful

When I was growing up, I often felt like I needed to hear confirmation that the decisions I was making or not making, were correct, so I sought out external acknowledgment and validation from others. As I grew more confident in my judgment, I relied less on that external validation and more on my own internal wisdom. Now I rarely seek out external input, although when it occasionally does happen I see it as a growth opportunity.

The terms “internal” and “external” in this context is one of several NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) terms called Metaprograms. In short, Metaprograms are unconscious filters to process incoming information so you can utilize it in productive ways in your life or interactions with others.

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Are You Afraid of Choice?

I recently finished teaching another certified beginning Akashic Practitioner training, and while exhausted, it always reminds me of what I value most and how good this work is for me, my students and the planet.

At the same time, a client contacted me for advice about a challenging situation she is facing concerning her son, his children, divorce and the soon to be “ex;” a common situation in our culture.

I felt honored that she would contact me for advice as it can be challenging to witness this kind of situation and feel unable to do anything about it. Since I’d just taught the most wonderful spiritual training, my guidance to my client was simple (but by no means easy): Communicate with her family that she unfailingly holds them in a bubble of love, compassion, and inspiration, and this may mean keeping her boundaries in tact and her feelings to herself.

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Is the Sh*t Hitting the Fan?

Very recently I’ve given several client readings with specific likely outcomes. Then I heard back from these clients, and something opposite occurred with no reasonable explanation. I even went back into my clients’ records to bring them some additional understanding (and to understand it myself!). Each time I did this, the beings told me this “upside down” experience is a result of a recent cosmic event! Blue, Red Moon maybe? The words they specifically used were it’s a “cosmic jungle out there!”

At the same time, my clients were experiencing this I was also having crazy sh*t happening. I’ve had significant plumbing issues (as in sewer, water line, and water main replacement). My computer and Fitbit went haywire; I thought my cat was down for the count (she’s fine), and I even felt challenged about my ability to provide a useful reading. It’s been a wild ride that has lasted about three weeks. The last time I saw this type of event was a few years back so thankfully it doesn’t happen very often.

If you have had strange and unusual experiences, it may be cosmic! Great, and I bet you want to know what you can do about it?

Thankfully, I work with the most wonderfully compassionate, wise and loving beings I’ve never seen. Their guidance is this:

  • Find your internal energetic core and strengthen it. You need to find your center of gravity so to speak. It is a place within you that is your anchor. Even when seas get rough and the wind is blowing, and the sh*t is hitting many different fans, you have an inner strength that guides your ability to respond more positively.
  • If meditation is your thing, do it and do it regularly. It doesn’t have to be 20-30 minutes; it can be 5 minutes as long as you find that quiet place and go there every day at the same-ish time.
  • Focus on allowing the divine light coming into you from above and the stability of the earth energy rising from below.
  • If you have a completely different practice, use it! It can be 5 minutes of sustained and strengthening breathing, or playing the piano (or another instrument) or writing or painting or doing whatever connects your heart to your body and quiets your mind. Imagine all of your internal energy centers (chakras) spinning with correct alignment and precision and trusting that they know what that means.
  • Connecting to your inner energetic core (anchor) with persistent and consistent practice will be the proverbial port so you can weather almost any storm.

Also, I found laughing at most of this stuff pretty useful.

By the way, I don’t know much about astrology so here’s a link to something I Googled. You can do your research. What I also know is that this event is finally passing through and things should be back to normal, unless your life isn’t “normal” to begin with. Wishing you well!

Holidays: 5 Tips to Saying “No” and Feeling Good About it!

The good news: It’s the holidays! The bad news: It’s the holidays! This time of year can have you going from one extreme to another. Parties, family, friends, spiritual gatherings, shopping and oh yes, work. There are a lot of demands on your time and energy. The only way to happily navigate this time of year is to set boundaries that you can feel GOOD about!

If you are like me, you may have grown up hearing how setting your boundaries is essential, only to feel that “setting your boundaries” may feel like a generic term for “something doesn’t feel quite right, but I don’t know what it is or how to change it.”

There are boundaries for everything. You have to know what they are, when to use them and how to communicate them. There are a lot of moving pieces in boundary setting. Even when you know your boundaries, expressing them with firm compassion is often a challenge.

Simply put, a boundary is a limit. There are different kinds of boundaries; below are the two types you may be most familiar with:

• A physical boundary defines who can touch you, when, how and where that will or will not happen.
• Emotional boundaries are the limits you set on how people will treat you.

Your values and priorities guide your boundaries. You have to decide, “what’s most important” to you when you choose, say, how you are going to spend your time during the holidays. Once you know your limit, then you have to know when it is about to be or has been reached. The way you know this is through your feelings and emotions. When you feel bad, guilty, resentful, etc., it’s usually a boundary issue. Keeping all this in mind, below are a few tips for communicating with compassionate firmness to keep your boundaries intact.

1. Start with a list. What needs to get done? What can you delegate? What can you cut out or postpone?

2. Decide the top actions or activities you want to do (not that have to get done). You just cannot do everything, nor would I suggest you try. Decide what makes you happy and start here first.

3. What actions or activities make you feel guilty, resentful, inadequate, depressed, anxious, etc.? Put those on the bottom of the list.

Make these lists short and simple.

4. Once you know your limits, you have permission to say “no,” “maybe,” or “yes” or something else entirely.

5. Lastly, setting your boundaries is about communicating expectations (yours and theirs), adjusting if needed (not giving in) and acknowledging the invitation or request by thanking the person and then expressing your response.

Here’s a short example:

Bob: My mother just called, and she wants us to come over early on Christmas and help with cooking, set-up, and clean-up.
Susie: Of course! I love your mother and am happy to help. And…I feel like every year I end up doing the bulk of the work. What if we told her we can come over between 2-3 and would be happy to help with whatever still needs to be done?
Bob: I’ll try, but you know how mom is and how nobody else helps.
Susie: Yes, that’s the problem. Let’s tell her how much we appreciate what she is doing and that we are happy to come over by 2 p.m. and that it’s a great opportunity for other family members to step up and help her.

Period!
No more dialog. That is the conversation. Communicate it and repeat it verbatim as needed. The gem is the repetition! If you are not used to using compassionately firm language, practice saying it to yourself and out loud.

Happy Holidays and enjoy setting some new boundaries.

Julie Hawkins, is the Biz Psychic and Women’s Boundary Coach. www.juliehawkins.com

 

Why This is So Hard and Yet Must be Done

Recently I was pondering a past relationship in which something had been “done to me” that felt so heinous I wasn’t sure I could ever forgive it. In fact, it happened more than 25 years ago, and I was still harboring deep feelings of anger. Since I teach Ho’oponopono (the Hawaiian process of forgiveness), I felt a bit at odds about urging others to embrace forgiveness when it didn’t seem I was fully walking my talk. In that very moment, I tapped into a brilliant source of illumination and let it rain down on me as if I’d just stepped into the shower. I finally experienced forgiving this person, a feeling I’d not been able to allow before. There is a bit more work to do, but at that moment, a sense of surrender and release flowed through me, and it was hugely freeing!

My past inability to let go of this offense added a layer of useless distress to the junkyard of emotions I’d worked so successfully to pare down. There had been a part of me that didn’t want to let go of these feelings (which is of course why I still held onto them). I wanted to feel self-righteous. I fought the tug-o-war of releasing this man from what he’d inadvertently done to me. Maybe he has held onto his guilt, I don’t know, and I don’t care now. What I finally got on a heart level is what I teach every day of my life: everyone is doing the best they know how and he was no exception. In my heart and mind, I finally released the energetic rope that bound me to him. That release, in turn, enabled my heart to grow bigger and fuller in alignment with Source and my reason for being here.

Everyone has something they believe they cannot forgive. Be it an insult, direct injury, perceived betrayal, disappointment or hurt. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t experience this yet I ask you to imagine all the angst and pain you’ve caused yourself by holding on to the real or perceived offense? What is the price you’ve paid in your quest for self-righteousness and vindication? Was it worth it? Probably not.

When you finally accept others for the flawed humans they are you will look back and realize what a waste of time it was to keep this person wrong!

In the bowl of emotional soup, love is the main ingredient followed closely by forgiveness and compassion. It is a meal we must eat every day to survive emotionally and spiritually and grow as a human in this lifetime. It is your purpose to evolve. Holding on to junk hurts only you and stunts the process of your fabulous potential. This is why you must find forgiveness.

If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, then I invite you to download my free Ho’oponopono meditation and listen as often as you need to until you can forgive and see the truth; that you are both flawed humans from a Divine lineage. http://www.juliehawkins.com/free-things/

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