I’ve always struggled with boundaries, but I have been looking at it wrong. Saying no is protecting who you are. It’s where you end and someone else begins. If you always say yes, there is no you. You are whatever someone else wants.
When I look at saying no as guarding who I am, it is a lot easier to say it. In my childhood, I wasn’t allowed to have my own desires. It wasn’t proper. So as I got older, I had to find out what I actually wanted — what I was actually doing that helped me get by in my youth, and differentiate it from what I felt was truly me, what was truly good. An intentional me. I wasn’t a shadow in someone else’s dream, none of us are. We have our own dreams.
There are some books and some parts of society that encourages us to obey or to live a life in service or detachment. But this is imbalance. We have to stand up for ourselves while looking out for others. We have to stand up for our right to feel. I have said yes mainly to please those close to me, those that I cared about. Now I know that when I say no, it is not because I do not love, but because I have to protect my own energy and dreams. I help wherever I can be the best use, and I trust myself to know where that is.