Imagine you have been taken to the middle of the ocean to go for a swim.
You jump off the boat and then as you surface you realize it has gone. You are alone, there is no shore that you can see, you have no idea what is swimming about under you in the deep blue of the ocean and it is quite cold. - kinda scary huh?
Now imagine you are on a beach. There is a cordoned off area in the sea to swim in, you can choose to swim or you can stand in the shallows and play with a ball and when you are done you can easily get out - doesn't that feel different?
This is a representation of life with and without boundaries. Boundaries create safety.
Sadly once we get old enough to understand "right and wrong" we no longer have our parents or other figures of authority to tell us "yes or no". We have to find this for ourselves but we are never taught how to create our own boundaries.
Imagine you have an invisible force shield around you. It is there to stop people draining you or coming into your personal space without your permission It literally keeps you safe but we have to learn to respect our shield and the way we keep it nice and strong is by learning how to say no thank you.
This then allows you to say yes and really truly mean it - without duty or resentment.
That sounds great right but what does it actually mean?
I'm out, it's a busy Saturday and I am shopping for new term shoes. I am stressed, hot and frazzled and I suddenly remember it is your birthday and im seeing you later. In a panic I go into a shop and grab the first thing I see because I feel I "have" to give you something, so later on you get given a present that has been bought in a rush, wrapped in a panic and given to you because I "need" to give you something.
Now imagine instead.
I am on a weekend away with my friend; we are meandering through the lanes of some gorgeous town full of interesting boutiques and shops having an absolutely lovely day.
We end up in a shop that is so lovely and I spy something sitting beautifully on a table which I fall in love with, knowing it will look SO great in your sitting room. I am so excited as I have it wrapped and know you will absolutely love it because it is totally up your street and I put it in a drawer until your birthday comes around.
I present it to you on your birthday so excited and full of smiles as I am giving you something that I am so pleased with.
Which gift would you prefer? The one bought with love and joy right?
It's the same if we say yes to doing something because we feel we have to. The trick is to learn how to only say yes when you are ready to give with love and abundance than with duty or resentment.
If you aren't sure which one is alive in you when you are asked to do something a useful phrase to buy you time is "leave it with me and I will get back to you" or "let me sit with it and let you know"
Many people often feel this is a selfish approach. This isn't being selfish its taking care of yourself! Self-care is so overlooked and it is a vital skill.
Once we start to take self-care seriously we give others permission to do the same and we keep our force shield intact meaning we don't end up exhausted and burnt out.