Drawing Healthy Boundaries With Others and Saying ‘No’

A lot of people have a really difficult time saying no to others in drawing healthy boundaries for themselves. Men struggle with this just as women do. A lot of guys suffer from the “nice guy” syndrome, and often fall into people pleasing behaviors that erode our confidence and self-esteem, and end up getting our power over to other people.

Here’s some things that happen when you can’t draw healthy boundaries for yourself:

  1. You end up giving other people power over your decision-making process
  2. Anger develops and builds up over time, and usually gets stuffed within us
  3. We end up forgetting what it is that we truly want from others, from our lives
  4. We end up playing games with other people to get love, attention and affirmation
  5. We succumb to the fear that generates our inability to say no to others, and we end up living through fear instead of courage to stand up for ourselves.
  6. Our relationships are not as authentic as they could be when we don’t say ‘no’
  7. A lot of psychic energy is expended in worrying about what others want from us and designing ways to please them and their needs.
  8. We develop a lot of guilt in the process, usually that stays with us and corrodes our well-being and self-esteem.
  9. We can succumb to stress, anxiety and depression much more easily when we can’t say no to others.
  10. Our lives become contingent on others and on the outside world, instead of contingent on ourselves and what we want from the world.

We devote a lot of energy in the process of pleasing others and not saying ‘no’ to others. It takes a lot of courage to risk doing something different. For most men, unlearning to be the “nice guy” takes a lot of risk and a lot of doing things different. It takes interacting with others in a very different way than what we’ve learned growing up, and development of these tools is essential to taking our selves and our lives back. We have to risk the fear of rejection, which is devastating to the ego, but is ultimately freeing and invigorating. If we can learn to say no to others, and start to say yes to ourselves, we can learn new experience that freedom and not feel dependent on others to give us affection or affirmation, and not reject us, if we don’t say no to others.


About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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