14.06.2024

Psychologist reveals the danger of over explaining when saying no

Dr Julie Smith, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Hampshire, has a TikTok account with more than 3.8 million followers. A therapist has revealed why it can be harmful to over-explain yourself when setting boundaries in a viral video.

The mental health professional, who says she has ‘devoted her career to learning everything she can about mental health and the intricacies of the human mind’, has shared clips on numerous topics including anxiety, depression, and gaslighting.

She has created a number of videos about boundaries, explaining why it is important to set them in relationships.

According to a clinical psychologist, over-explaining when you are setting a boundary can have a negative impact on your self-confidence

Speaking about this topic in a previous video, she explained that setting boundaries is ‘not about getting other people to like your decisions’, but about making decisions for yourself based on your best interests – and accepting that other people have a right not to like your decisions.

Addressing the topic again in another clip, she explained: ‘When you set a boundary in a relationship, the other person has a right not to like it. And they probably won’t.

According to a clinical psychologist, over-explaining when you are setting a boundary can have a negative impact on your self-confidence (stock photo)

Dr Julie Smith on setting boundaries

According to clinical psychologist Dr Julie Smith, it is important to set boundaries in relationships.

She has shared a number of tips on the subject, designed to help people understand what boundaries are and why they are so crucial.

Dr Smith says setting boundaries is not about getting other people to like your decisions, but making decisions based on your own interests.
People won’t always like your decisions, and they have a right not to.
You should be able to set boundaries even if people don’t like them, as she says ‘you have to betray yourself in order to be liked by someone else, then it’s not a healthy relationship’.
Although some people may struggle to put them in place, she says that having boundaries is not about being selfish, but about giving your needs equal importance to those of others.

‘But that doesn’t make you wrong for setting that boundary.

‘If you have to betray yourself in order to be liked by someone else, then it’s not a healthy relationship.’

Tackling why some people may find it so difficult to do this in another video, she said: ‘If you find it hard to set boundaries and other people is one thing that might be holding you back, you see it as all or nothing.

‘Either you put everyone else first or you put you first and putting yourself first feels too selfish to bear.

‘So your default is to put them first.

‘But having healthy boundaries doesn’t mean you have to stop caring about other people’s needs.

‘It just means you have to start treating your own as equals.’

In a recent video, she discussed why going into people-pleasing mode when you have to say no can be bad for your confidence, which can then lead to people over-explaining why they can’t do something.

In the TikTok video, which has garnered more than 3 million views, she outlines the potential negative consequences of this behaviour.

She says: ‘When you need to set a boundary and say no, but it feels uncomfortable to do that, you might notice that you go into people pleasing mode, and you start to over explain why you can’t do something.

‘This happens when you believe that your own health is not a good enough reason to disappoint other people.’

This, she explains, can have a negative impact on your confidence.

Dr Smith says: ‘All that over explaining yourself chips away at your self-confidence, because it reconfirms your belief that other people need to buy into those reasons for them to be valid.’

The video seemed to strike a chord with many viewers, with some taking to the comments section to share their thoughts.

The video garnered more than 1,000 comments from people who shared their own experiences with setting boundaries

More than 1,000 comments were posted on the clip, from people who are currently dealing with difficulties in setting boundaries, as well as those who have managed to overcome them.

One revealed: ‘I figured out I’m a people pleaser. I’d put their aches and pains in front of my own and become invisible to my own problems. never said no.’

Meanwhile, another wrote: ‘I’ve been working on this with my therapist. It’s feeling less and less uncomfortable.’

And a third said: ‘No is a complete sentence. As soon as I learned that and practiced the easier it became!’

A fourth offered their own take, writing: ‘spot on, I feel the “no” has to be explained though so ur not being rude, and thus still get the future invites and offers.’

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