Thanks to a lifetime of experiences so far, we all have our own personal encyclopedias of what does and doesn’t work for us. But we often don’t utilise this vital intel about our needs, desires, values and boundaries.

Instead, even though we know that, for example, when a certain someone asks us to do something we always wind up feeling compromised, we keep saying yes. We know that, for example, we tend to feel icky, anxious and behave uncharacteristically if we become sexually involved with someone in the early stages of dating. Yet again though, now that the possibility of sex is on the table and so we’re aware of the other person’s need and desire, we’re vacillating between forgetting and honouring ourselves.

It’s almost as if we’re thinking and behaving as though this is a decision that we need to reconsider each time. We carry on as if we’re ‘surprised’ that this repeat frustration is back and deliberating with ourselves.

But if we know that something doesn’t work for us (and we also know what does), why ignore it? Why keep reconsidering something we already know?

In Obama’s time at the White House, he never had to think about what to wear because he wore variations of the same thing. This became his uniform. Some of us have a signature look or signature pieces and just top up each year. Others have the same breakfast. These are decisions they don’t have to make because they’re already decided.

We could all do with being like this about our values and boundaries. Instead of shapeshifting to suit the situation or what we think we can get or avoid, we can decide. We can make our values and boundaries our uniform. Why ignore the data? Why add unnecessary decisions to our day? We can take what we already know about us and use it to guide us into self-supporting decisions. This is far better than pressing the ‘reset button’ on ourselves each time.

Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to ‘please’ or protect yourself from others? My book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon), is out now.

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue book cover. Subtitle: A simple plan to stop people pleasing, reclaim boundaries, and say yes to the life you want.
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