Young woman holding old woman's hands during conversation

Do you find yourself exhausted from constantly giving yourself to others? Saying yes to others and neglecting your needs without considering personal capacity can lead to resentment and negatively impact relationships and personal mental health. Mielad Owraghi, LMFT, clinical lead therapist at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health – Murrieta, sheds light on potential influences and the importance of setting boundaries.

Constantly saying yes to others can have significant consequences. Similar to conditioned responses, the more one agrees, the less value each agreement holds. This not only leads to personal stress but also affects relationships, where occasional refusals can strengthen the significance of one's consent. Owraghi uses examples like the overplayed song on the radio to illustrate how saying yes all the time diminishes the value of one's agreement.

Cultural and generational influences

Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially within some cultural contexts. Owraghi says in some cultures, boundaries may be perceived as disrespectful by older generations. It's essential to navigate these cultural nuances and communicate that boundaries are not a sign of diminished love but rather a crucial aspect of self-care.

“Passing down generational trauma is usually unintentional in nature,” Owraghi says. “I like to encourage people to recognize that their parents did the best they could with the knowledge available to them at the time.”

He advocates for leveraging advancements in sciences, especially neurobiological science, to break free from the patterns of invalidation and minimization in earlier stages of family history.

“Understanding that individuals often emulate learned behaviors from their parents and grandparents is crucial,” Owraghi. “Breaking the cycle of generational trauma involves recognizing these patterns and consciously choosing to prioritize mental well-being by setting healthy boundaries and accepting it may make people upset who don’t or refuse to understand.”

He says that individuals who struggle to say no often experience higher stress levels. Resentment, in this context, arises from constantly prioritizing others over oneself. Owraghi stresses the importance of protecting one's needs and engaging in self-care to avoid reaching a point of emptiness that breeds resentment.

“Self-care is crucial for individuals to protect their own needs and strike a balance between giving to others and preserving their mental and emotional well-being,” Owraghi says.

Understanding the impact of setting boundaries on mental well-being is essential for personal growth and healthier relationships. Regardless of cultural influences, recognizing the generational aspects of behavior and the consequences of constant agreement empowers individuals to break free from unhealthy patterns. Individuals can foster a more balanced and fulfilling life by prioritizing self-care and acknowledging the significance of occasional refusals.

Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center ­– Murrieta provides a holistic approach to behavioral and mental health needs, focusing on mind, body, and spirit. Learn about and request more information about the programs offered.