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Are you someone who has said “yes” to a baby shower, an event, a social engagement, or even a date with friends after your miscarriage, even though you knew you didn’t want to go?

You might be someone who’s having trouble setting clear boundaries.  Which can be really tough to do after a miscarriage.  Heck, it can be tough to set boundaries in good times!

If you’re anything like me, you are saying “yes” to all kinds of things.  I went to baby showers, weddings, even back to work the day after my miscarriage, even though everything inside of me said to honour my needs and stay home.

When I reflected on this, I realized I’ve been doing it all my life.

I stifled all my own needs, desires feelings, emotions, and did what others expected of me. I had a strong need to please them.  To do what they thought was right for me, not what I felt was right for me.  The need to meet THEIR needs overpowered the need to meet my  own.

And as soon as I said “yes”, the regret set in.  Sometimes resentment.  Guilt and “should haves”.  I was no longer in alignment with my own desires.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

It wasn’t until I was complaining to my sister about a baby shower I didn’t want to go to.  She looked me straight in the eye and said to me,

“You don’t have to go”.  And the lightbulb came on.  What?  I don’t have to go?  She gave me the permission I needed to say “no”.  For some reason, I couldn’t do that.   I didn’t know I could just say “no”.

But really, an invitation is just an invitation. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Whenever I received an invitation to a wedding or a shower, I thought that the only reason I could decline was if I had something else already planned. 

But there’s more to it than that if you want to continue to set clear boundaries for yourself.

If you research how to set boundaries, there are a few things the industry will tell you to.

 1. Just say no is one of them.  But again, it’s not that easy.  you still won’t until something else changes within you.

2. Ask for help when you need it.  But you won’t do that until you tap into your needs and also feel worthy and deserving of having them met.

3. Be protective of your time and what you are able to commit to.  You won’t do this unless you feel that your time is worth as much as someone else’s.

What you really have to do in order to get good at setting boundaries is to go deeper.

Here are 4 tips for setting boundaries after a miscarriage:

1. Ask yourself why you don’t set clear boundaries in the first place. Usually it’s because you need something from the person you’ve said “yes” to: approval, to please them, or to fit in.

2. Dig into what your true needs are. Ask yourself how you want to feel and what are the emotions that you most want to have.  Ask yourself how accepting an invitation is going to make you feel.  

3. Check in with your self worth.  You won’t honour your needs if you don’t feel you deserve it.  Do you feel you deserve to have your needs met? 

4. Find true connection. Brené Brown says that true belonging comes from connection. If you say yes to people and don’t feel a genuine connection, you won’t feel that sense of belonging.  Instead, ask yourself who in your life fills you up.  And who drains your energy?

Saying yes when you mean no actually increases your suffering.  It means you’re not attending to your pain.  And when you are not doing that, you are making it worse.

Rebecca Campbell, who writes that saying no is a spiritual act.  Those who set the clearest boundaries are the most giving, loving and compassionate people.  Because when they say yes, they are able to show up fully.

 When you follow the 4 tips above, you’ll be honouring your needs and your pain.  You’ll be able to heal much more quickly.  And when you apply this to your life, and not just in your grief, you will be living a different life a year from now.  A life that feels so much less busy, more peaceful, less resentful, more authentic, less obligatory, more free.  

It’s definitely a process, and it takes some inner work.  My question to you is, are you someone who is willing to do the work in order to have that level of peace and freedom?  Or will you continue to say “yes” and add resentment, regret and guilt to your grief? 

I can tell you it’s so worth it to do the work. 

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References from this episode:

Book mention: Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Oracle deck mention: Work Your Light Oracle by Rebecca Campbell

Miscarriage – Love & Loss Facebook group

 

 

Sheri Johnson