Relationships, Boundaries & The Power Of ‘No’

The greatest way to nourish your heart is to discover the power and beauty of honouring your own boundaries. To do this well, you have to be clear enough in your own awareness to know who you really are and what you truly want. Have you ever said yes to someone when it was really a no? It doesn’t feel good. When we abandon ourselves like that we tend to retract a little from the world. Our spirit pulls back, we are likely to resent the person that has asked us and we lose faith in ourselves a little bit. In some small we have betrayed ourselves and the knock on affect overtime means we are not fully safe or self-expressed.

That is why there is great beauty to be found in deepening your capacity to lovingly say “no”.  By being clear about what feels good and right for you in the moment is a fundamental part of loving yourself and living a life that feels good. This means it is likely you will be able to trust yourself more and it also means that other people will feel a greater depth of confidence from you. When we can manage our own boundaries more clearly people begin to trust us more. If there is someone in your life who always says yes and is always willing to do anything for you, there will be some wise part of you that knows that you don’t really know where you stand with that person. You can feel their willingness to betray themselves to “please” you. They think they are being generous and kind but actually it feels more like they are trying to win or buy our affections. That isn’t authenticity and it doesn’t feel good.

When we are really clear about what we want and we can relax into our right to protect our boundaries, each “no” is actually an act of self-love. That means in contrast that when we say yes, we can be fully there, heart open, happy and generously giving of ourselves. This is a real gift worth sharing. The more we love ourselves the more loving we can be with others when they ask us to do something and the answer is no.  When we are guilt free the whole exchange can be breezy. That makes asking you really easy. There is no heaviness or awkwardness.

When we can say “no” with love in our hearts for ourselves and the other, our “no” is often met with peace.

When we feel guilty, embarrassed or groundless in our right to say no, people are more likely to feel let down. They will feel the negativity and are more likely to think that you are “wrong” not to say yes. The more relaxed we get within our boundaries the more people trust and respect us.

Unapologetic authenticity is the key to freedom.

When we can be ourselves completely without fear of how our truth will upset others, we begin to operate with a kind of loving serenity that people find most appealing. We are relaxed about our “no” and deeply committed to our “yes” but more than that, we are deeply at peace with ourselves. From this place we are much more comfortable asking for our needs to be met and we are much more relaxed around other people when they are asking us to meet their needs. When we are caught in people pleasing, every interaction involves the possibility of being overwhelmed or overstretched. When we drop that, our system trusts us more and we can engage more fully with the world. Relationships can deepen without threatening our identity and so that means we can open our hearts much wider than before. We can truly let life and love in.

It is a worthwhile endeavour to connect with yourself and recognise when you may have said yes when you really meant no. Check in with yourself and apologise to yourself for letting yourself down. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Sometimes we don’t even realise that we have transgressed our own boundaries until the event has passed. With awareness the gap between what you want and what you are aware of needing will shorten. Ideally you will be so in touch with yourself in each and every moment that you will protect and love yourself with all of your choices all of the time.

So, yes apologise to yourself if you haven’t always been there for yourself and make commitments to start honouring your own boundaries in all of your interactions.

This is the best way to nourish your heart and bring your life back into balance.


Why Meeting Yourself With Love Is So Important

Nourishing your heart involves making a practice of loving every aspect of yourself. This is about embracing all of your inner world too. This includes those parts of you that are responsible for some of your greatest challenges. Many people have parts of themselves that are closed down to love, push away opportunity and sabotage their best attempts to make positive changes in their lives. It can be tempting to attack these parts of your mind, making them wrong and blaming them for everything that is difficult in your life.  Unfortunately that only makes matters worse. If you do have parts of yourself that seem set against you, they are working on some level to serve you. They always are. Yes, those parts may be serving you in wholly destructive ways, underpinning any number of terribly limiting behaviours and beliefs but those parts will be doing that with your best interests at heart. Somewhere in the middle of their motivation is a desire to keep you safe.

Changing behaviour only works in a real and lasting way if we can get every aspect of ourselves into alignment. It is about negotiating with yourself so that every part of you comes into agreement. Then it no longer involves any will power. Will power is when one part of you wants one thing and another wants something else and you go to war against an aspect of yourself.  True transformation comes from realising on a deep level what truly serves you. This is not a chore, a duty or a loss. It is a gift of love. From there, there is no more struggle or effort required. So, how do you bring those parts of you into agreement?

Alignment comes with love, respect and faith.

To do this try the following negotiation exercise. Once you become familiar with this exercise, it is possible to do very rapid negotiations with yourself. However, sometimes I f you are working with something big, you might want to take a long time over this, spending time getting very deeply relaxed before you begin. Sometimes, negotiating with yourself can involve a few rounds of internal discussion. To do this close your eyes, relax your breathing, become still and then invite this part of yourself to come into your awareness. This could be a part of you responsible for smoking, over-shopping, overeating, never stopping, angry outbursts etc. You may see this part in your imagination or you might just sense that you are talking to yourself on some deeper level. Either way is fine. You then first of all thank this part for everything it is doing to help you. You let it feel that you have faith that it is trying to help you. Do your best to feel sincere gratitude for this part. Then let it know that you are not here to force it to change. You are here simply to invite it to think and feel differently about this behaviour or habit. There is a more loving way of living and loving yourself and you are here to give this part a chance to find even more beautiful ways of loving you.

Sometimes we can happen upon an aspect of ourselves that seems absolutely dead set against us, that wants to pull everything down and ruin all hope. That part more than anything needs your love not your hatred. It will simply be trying to hold you responsible for everything that went wrong in your past. It will be protecting you from painful thoughts and feelings that you once couldn’t bear to be conscious of. If you find that part in you, let it know that you are finally here to help it. You are finally here to feel the feelings and to think the thoughts that you were once too afraid to think and feel. By meeting every part of us with love, the battle and the blame begins to dissolve. Peace moves through our choices and a sense of adequacy transforms the pain of imagined inadequacy and failure that drives all of the behaviours that cause damage and pain in our life. From there what we truly want gets exciting, we act in healthy and harmonious ways because we really want to. No will power is required. We are no longer battling against some sense of something being wrong, something needing to be different. That primary resistance simply isn’t there so we naturally find balance.

Meet every part of yourself with love.

Bring every choice into your conscious awareness, trusting that you will make the perfect choice at the perfect time when you can relax into the process of simply bringing more love to life.


Why Does Self Acceptance Get Such A Bad Rap?

During my decade as a Hypnotist I have worked with thousands of clients who come in looking to build their self-belief or self-confidence, lose weight, overcome a phobia, lose unwanted habits, become more successful or effective in certain areas of their lives, but it’s extremely rare that someone walks into my office and says “I’d really like you to help me accept myself”. When I suggest that self-acceptance would be helpful as part of their process of change it’s often met with real resistance.>

However when we accept ourselves, it feels really good, it’s like we’ve called a truce with ourselves.

So if acceptance feels so good for us then why the resistance? I believe the answer is motivation. We use our lack of acceptance (feels like self-punishment) as motivation to get us to do, not do, be, and not be what we think we should. Many people believe that if they accepted themselves as they are, they wouldn’t change or that they wouldn’t work on becoming more of who they want to be. Let’s use the example of losing weight, if I suggest working on self-acceptance as a useful part of the process for a client wanting to lose weight they will often initially rile against it – thinking that I mean they just accept their weight and live with it, however the opposite is true, if we relentlessly hate our weight and bodies during the process of attempting to lose weight it makes it much more difficult to do so – what we resist persists!

Typically we judge ourselves unfavourably with the hope it will motivate us to change, does this work? Sometimes, but only short term, most of the time it causes us to feel bad and the energy we use in punishing ourselves saps the energy we need to make the desired changes, and it can become not only counter-productive but a vicious cycle of self-punishment and guilt. However if we can be kind to ourselves during the process and accept ‘this is where I am now but I would like to feel healthier, fitter and slimmer’ (using the example of weight loss again) it provides a way forward that not only works better but feels a hell of a lot better too! Continue reading…


Additional Credits

Video by Weeks360.

Photography by Liz Bishop Photography.

Production by Mark Norman at Little Joe Media and Joanne Brooks.

Hair by Jonny Albutt.

Make up by Olly Fisk and Nabeel Hussain.