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One Skill to Help You Have Better Boundaries: The Conditional Yes

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Do you consider yourself a yes-person? Maybe you don't, but is your calendar telling you that you are?


If you are overwhelmed with all that is on your plate and you want to make everyone happy but truly, underneath it all, you fear you will let everyone down, you are exactly that--a yes-person.


Maybe, for you, it is not so much about making everyone happy; and it is more about missing a fun or interesting opportunity.


No matter what our motives are for over-committing, being overcommitted can make us feel anxious, distracted, or disengaged from the many priorities vying for our attention.


I want to share with you one skill that can help you make commitments without being overcommitted.


It is called, The Conditional Yes.


Essentially all you do is communicate your conditions right into your yes. You communicate your boundaries on the front end, rather than feeling uncomfortable trying to communicate them later.


Here is an example:


Lately our family has decided that we wanted to have people over monthly for dinner. While no one is technically asking us to dinner, and we are doing the asking, I still try to use the principle of the conditional yes.


For me, this looks like creating a boundary around the time. Usually, I will ask someone to come from 5PM-7PM.


The reason I do this is because my husband and I have a family meeting we do on Sunday nights and I want to ensure there is time for it, and additionally we both need ample time to wind down and relax before the long week ahead.


We are putting our limits right into our invitation.


However, it works the other way around too, when you are the one being asked or being invited.


You can create boundaries around time, energy, topics you'll talk about, the kinds of things you watch, when you will respond on your phone, and the kinds of things you'll listen to. Because in reality, it is all an invitation. Conversation is an invitation. Being asked to babysit is an invitation. Participating in a sport is an invitation. All of it is a part of a yes-life, but sometimes we don't want to say yes fully, just partially.


Boundaries aren't meant to be bad or mean, they just admit you're limited. For example, I won't talk to about true crime. That's one of my boundaries. I am limited in my ability to handle and process scary information.





Have you taken the time to consider where your limits are, or when you have been overextending yourself? I would encourage you to consider if you have said a full yes, where a partial yes would've benefited everyone.


When we are overcommitted, we do not show up as our best in any way. It would actually benefit the one asking us if we were honest upfront about limitations.


I once heard a quote that said, "Under-promise and over-deliver." Most of us are over-promising and under-delivering, because we aren't honest about our limits.





I hope today you have found the courage to take a honest assessment of yourself, and are more willing to communicate what you truly are able and unable to do. It is a much more freeing way to live.


If you would like to continue this discussion, I would love you to join my Facebook Group. Hope you are blessed friends.

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