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Living with lupus can mean having limited energy, time, and bandwidth. You may find yourself needing to say "no" more often than you did before you developed lupus. Do you have a tough time being direct with others about how you feel? It's not unusual to feel awkward or self-centered when turning down a request or an invitation. You may feel at the mercy of the other person's need.
Using "I" statements can help put you back in the driver's seat of the situation. An "I" statement directly communicates your feelings and sets a clear boundary, allowing you to focus on treating your lupus and managing lupus-related symptoms like fatigue or muscle pain.
I don't feel like going.
I'd rather do something indoors to avoid being in the sun.
I can't do it this week.
Whenever I attend that event, it takes me days to recover.
At first, you may feel vulnerable about using direct "I" statements when saying no. Your true feelings are exposed, and you may be judged for using lupus as an excuse. "I" statements can also be freeing! You don't need to pretend or tell a white lie. It's ok to communicate directly about what you need.
Using an "I" statement is a way of taking responsibility for your feelings. You are not blaming or accusing the other person. You are being honest about your needs and making sure they are recognized.
Members of MyLupusTeam shared some of their experiences with communicating directly:
"I agree. You get tired of putting on that smile and pretending everything is fine."
"I'm annoyed because she was really pushy about it and not understanding."
"I just don't want to say anything because I feel like I'm always moping and whining about pain."
Have you used "I" statements to set boundaries? How did it feel?
Share your stories about direct communication in the comments below or on MyLupusTeam.