The Importance of Self-Love in Setting Boundaries and assertively saying ‘NO’ with love and respect
One of the most profound manifestations of self-love is the ability to assertively say ‘no’ with love and respect.
We live in a world that often values selflessness and places it way up there on a pedestal. While empathy and care for others are indeed virtues, this can also lead us to overlooking the essentiality of self-love and totally neglecting our own personal boundaries.
For most of my life I had absolutely no sense of self or love for myself. I had no clear boundaries and I just allowed others to walk all over my physical, mental, emotional space. And because I had such a weak sense of awareness of my own needs, their needs were priority and mine were never considered – by them or myself.
Creating and cultivating healthy boundaries around ourselves is self-care at its deepest level and a profound and sacred act of self-love. In this blog post, we’ll look at what self-love is; its importance in setting clear personal boundaries and how we can assertively say ‘NO’ with love and respect.
Understanding what Self-Love is
Self-love is so much more than just self-care routines or the occasional pampering at a spa; it is the recognition of our intrinsic value as human beings that goes way beyond external accomplishments. It’s an inherent respect for ourselves and a clear understanding that we are deserving of kindness, respect, and care from others, but above all from ourselves.
Loving ourselves is NOT selfish. People tell us it is because it’s in their best interest for us not to love ourselves. Self-love isn’t about being self-absorbed or narcissistic; it’s about self-awareness and self-knowledge – ‘Know yourself, and the truth will set you free’. It’s about understanding and knowing what our needs, wants and desires are, and acknowledging them without guilt or judgment. It’s about creating loving, sacred space for ourselves to grow, learn, and nurture our spirit. It’s about being our own advocates, championing our needs, and setting boundaries to safeguard our well-being.
When we love ourselves, we understand that it’s okay to prioritize our needs. We cannot give out what we don’t have within. If our cup is empty, we cannot give water to anyone. Taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish; taking care of ourselves is essential. It’s an act of love.
The Connection between Self-Love and Boundaries
Setting boundaries is an integral part of self-love. We actually need boundaries to be us, we need boundaries to be an individual, otherwise we are just everyone else; we are trying to be everyone else; we want to be liked and accepted by everyone else.
But what exactly are boundaries?
Well, boundaries are invisible lines, invisible limits that we set for ourselves in our relationships with other people. They define our physical space (our personal space), our emotional space (our feelings, needs and what we accept), and our mental space (our thoughts, judgements, beliefs, and our self-talk). These invisible limits are a way of communicating to others what’s acceptable and okay for us, and what is unacceptable and not okay for us. They are a way of protecting our peace, our energies, and our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Setting boundaries is a profound act of self-love. It isn’t about limiting our interactions with others; it’s about establishing healthy and respectful relationships that nurture mutual growth. When we love ourselves, we value our happiness, our peace, our time, and our energy. It’s about identifying and prioritizing our needs and making sure that they aren’t just put aside or ignored by others or ourselves. We know what we are comfortable with, and we respect ourselves enough to say ‘No’ when we aren’t.
Practicing self-love and setting healthy boundaries also boosts our mental health. It reduces all those feelings of resentment, burnout, and emotional exhaustion that come from constantly neglecting our own needs and saying ‘yes’ and yes, and yes, to everyone and everything, over and over again! It instils a sense of control over our lives, enhancing our self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.
Assertively saying ‘No’ with Love and Respect
Being able to say ‘NO’ is a fundamental aspect of setting healthy boundaries, however, many of us really struggle with this word. We fear the reactions of others, the possibility of disappointing them, the potential backlash, the judgment, and above all the rejection. And these fears stem from a lack of self-love.
Saying ‘NO’ does not make you selfish or rude. It’s a testament to the love and respect that you have for yourself; it’s an affirmation of your worth and your rights as an individual. When we learn to love ourselves, the fear of saying ‘NO’ diminishes because we know that our innate worth does not depend on external validation or acceptance.
Saying ‘no’, doesn’t have to be confrontational or aggressive. It can be done with love, kindness, and respect, but it’s also important to be firm. We need to stand our ground and lovingly remind ourselves that it’s more than OK to say ‘NO’ to requests or obligations that just don’t align with our needs or values.
Here are some examples of responses that assert our decisions while acknowledging the other person’s perspective. Saying ‘NO’ with…
Gratitude: “I really appreciate your offer and your trust in me, but I must decline at this time.”
Openness and honesty: “I would love to help, but I currently have a lot on my plate and wouldn’t be able to give this the attention it deserves.”
Empathetically: “I understand that you need help with this, but, unfortunately, I’m not able to commit to it at this moment.”
With valid reasons: “As much as I’d like to participate, I already have previous commitments that I can’t back out from.”
Reinforcing your value: “I’m honoured by your request, but for my own well-being, I have to say no this time.”
Without extensive justification: “I’m sorry, but I can’t assist you with that, right now.”
Offering alternatives: “I’m afraid I can’t help you with this, but I know someone else who might be able to.”
Firm yet respectful: “I’m sorry but I need to decline your request, as it doesn’t align with my current goals/priorities.”
Delaying response: “I need some time to think about this. Can I get back to you?”
Remember that each time we say ‘YES’ to someone or something that we don’t really want to do, we are actually saying a big ‘NO’ to ourselves and our own needs.
Make room for self-love, for it is the foundation of setting healthy boundaries and assertively saying ‘no’ with love and respect. It’s not something that will happen overnight, there are often going to be moments of discomfort and vulnerability; it takes time, practice, and patience but the rewards are deeply felt. It leads to a life where YOU are at the centre of YOUR decisions, where YOU respect YOUR needs and values, and where YOU don’t compromise YOUR well-being for external validation or someone else’s approval.
By setting healthy boundaries, you are able to build a healthy and loving relationship with yourself and others. You will begin to attract and nurture relationships that are built on mutual respect and understanding. You will cultivate connections that respect your ‘NO’, value your autonomy, and cherish your individuality.
In today’s culture of relentless productivity and people-pleasing, know that it’s okay for you to step back, prioritize yourself, and establish boundaries that protect your well-being. Make your relationship with yourself rooted in love, respect, and assertiveness. It’s not just about saying ‘NO’ to others but standing up for yourself and finally saying ‘YES’ to YOU. And that is the essence of self-love.
You might also like to read this blog post: https://fragranceofbeing.com/self-love-is-neither-selfish-nor-indulgent-but-essential/
Saying ‘NO’ does not make you selfish or rude.
It’s a testament to the love and respect that you have for yourself.
Say ‘YES’ to YOU!
With BIG Love
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Fiona Elizabeth is a Teacher of Beingness and Self-love leader. She has a Master in Metaphysical Science and is a certified Metaphysical Practitioner, Ordained Minister, Spiritual Counsellor, Shadow Worker, and Journal Therapist.
“My mission is to hold a safe, nurturing space for you to grow and live a life that is grounded in self-love, self-knowledge, self-transformation, and spiritual alignment. Teaching and sharing self-love and spiritual practices that nourish your needs, mind, and heart, and support you in aligning with your highest self and purpose. “