Boundaries: When You Can’t “Just Say Yes”
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
My family moves to a new place every 3-4 years and this requires me to start my career over, and over, and over again. Just recently we moved to very rural town, outside of a rural city. The next closest city is 5 hours away and there is very little in between. The traditional jobs in colleges and universities were simply not available here. And due to conflict of interest, I cannot work on base. So, off I go again to ignite my career.
I work in private practice now, which requires me to know ALL of the laws, rules, and guidelines. I create the policies and procedures, and literally every document from a note or assessment to a fax cover sheet. I didn’t realize how much an agency/clinic/hospital did for me until I had to do it all. But it will be worth it! Because I simply can’t make half of what I’m worth just to have structure and staying at home is not an option for my sanity and isn’t financially sustainable.
The piece of advice that I see most often...is “Say Yes!” I wish it were that simple.
The piece of advice that I see most often, and from people I admire, whether it be Reza Asian or Shonda Rimes or Bethenny Frankel is “Say Yes!” I wish it were that simple. Just say yes, when opportunity presents itself. Say yes, over and over and over again! THIS is how you make a name for yourself in a community where no one is interested in the Black girl from out of town with the big Afro. THIS is how you make yourself a success. THIS is how you change your world.
But what happens when saying yes, stops being an option?
What I learned recently is that when I say yes to everything, I become a repository for anything. I don’t want that kind of energy in my practice or my life. I’m not just a receptacle for the leftover stuff that doesn’t have a clear home. I want to attract the clients who speak my language, who reflect my strengths, who share a similar humanity that allows us to connect “like puzzle pieces from the clay.”
This is what having boundaries can look like. THIS is how my work is congruent with values. THIS is how I feel passionate and fulfilled by my work. Because when I say no, I am saying YES to my babies. When I say no, I am saying YES to my spouse. When I say no, I am saying YES to myself and I deserve to have my needs met by, first and foremost, me.
Where in your life can you say no, and when you do, what will you be saying YES to?
Irene Summers Temple, PhD is a licensed Counseling Psychologist in private practice at Irene Summers Temple, PhD LLC in Rapid City, SD. She specializes in multicultural counseling, coaching, and consultation, serving helping professionals, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ individuals, fostering mental wellness and identity development.