Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Last time I was talking about better relationships through better communication by extending grace. This time, it’s all about boundaries. In other words, saying ‘yes’ or saying ‘no’. I agree this is hard to do but it means that you care about yourself as well as caring for the other person, in any relationship you have. Being good at communicating is not about only being gracious to others, it’s also about being gracious to yourself which includes saying ‘no’ at times when you need to. Jesus himself described it in this way:
‘But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.’ Matthew 5:37NKJV
It’s pretty powerful that Jesus wants us to be firm and confident about what we say yes to and what we say no to. And that if we are not obeying this then we are under attack from the enemy of our soul. If you say ‘yes’ when in your heart it doesn’t feel right, perhaps for unacceptable behaviour, it is in effect saying to that person that they are better and more important than you. And that what they want is more important than what you want or need. If you instead say ‘no,’ graciously, without anger when what is being required of you does not sit well with your values; you are in affect declaring that you are equal and worthy of care.
I understand that you may be thinking this is easy to say but not easy to do. Yes you’re right. Finding a way to say ‘no’ to someone who pushes boundaries requires that you think it all through very carefully prior to any chat. Also incredibly important for success, think about what the consequences will be for not complying with your boundaries. You may need help from a trusted person to not back down, so get that help before and practice it with a coach if necessary. And then be ready and prepared that when you deliver the new boundary, you may want to back down because of the backlash that comes. Don't! (I call this World War III, because it feels like it! That person is not used to the new assertive you.)
In summary, do you want better relationships with better communication? Then apply my tip # 2: Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Listen to me speak on this topic with Jay and Sam on 96three FM, 8.30am Fridays. (96three.com)
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