Day 16: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
I use to be a “people pleaser”. I would be in the middle of painting and my sister would call and I’d drop everything I was doing to suit her needs and not my own. I did not know how to say no. Until one day my therapist suggested I read “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. BEST book I ever read for someone like me with no boundaries. I didn’t know where I began and someone else ended. I was so sure someone would be disappointed in me if I told them no that I’d always just say yes, even when I didn’t want to. Then, I’d end up resenting the chore or thing I was doing because I didn’t want to be doing but I’d never say a word.
If I did say no to someone I was wracked with guilt. I’m fairly certain that the people in my life knew this about me too and took advantage. Because AFTER I read the book something occurred to me; IF other people can nicely tell me no to a request (and not feel bad) then that meant that so could I. I HAD BOUNDARIES TOO. I began to say no to the things that were highly inconvenient for me or that I didn’t have a desire to do. Oh, and those people in my life that knew I was their “yes girl” didn’t like it at all. But, I told myself that if I respect them when they tell me no, that meant they were going to have to respect my “no” as well. I was just as entitled as everyone else.
That didn’t mean I stopped caring and stopping doing for others because I am a giver. However, in those situations where I caught myself not being able to help or not being able to help due to circumstances beyond my control; I was going to FINALLY be able to say no. And just as I respected those that told me no over the years, I would get that same respect and even if they didn’t respect it- I would respect and honor myself. I mattered too.
“Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:
– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.”
I began to grow a backbone so to speak. This gave me confidence in other areas of my life as well. I was beginning to see things in a whole new light. I didn’t have that horrible guilt anymore either. It was exactly what it was – no means no. I was no longer going to spread myself so thin that I didn’t have time for myself and my family.
For anyone out there that has a hard time with saying no, or are a people pleaser- this is the book for you. It’s therapy and the best that you can get. It was an easy read and made perfect sense. There is also an awesome workbook available. It cured me of my need to be “liked” and to always be available to everyone for everything. Now I say yes to things that I WANT and CAN do with a happy heart.