• Vitina Blumenthal

Does Saying No Make You a Bad Person with Paul Baranowski

You are valuable.

Your life is valuable.

And how you choose to spend your time is crucial to living the life you desire.

Time is the most precious resource you have. It's the only element you can never buy more of, or get back, no matter your wealth. Likewise, no amount of wealth or social status escalates the value of anyone else’s time over your own. What is under your control is how you use the time you are given.

Sometimes, to protect our cherished time, it becomes necessary to set boundaries with people, purposefully limiting the amount of time any one person can have from you. This is especially important with those who will TAKE and TAKE and TAKE until there's nothing left of you.

Society has created this fine line between asserting yourself and offending someone and people get uncomfortable with changes to the status quo. Setting boundaries for your self-protection may lead to some push back... sometimes, unexpectedly, from the people you care about the most. In this episode, you'll learn how to "say no" in a positive way with Paul Baranowski.

Paul, a deeply spiritual and dedicated Buddhist practitioner, began his journey of self-discovery about 16 years ago after experiencing a prolonged period of disconnect. Like so many, he has walked the corporate path but left feeling as if there was more that he needed to be doing. More that he needed to be creating, and a deeper connection that he needed to find within himself. He learnt and mastered meditation with the help of many incredible teachers, and now has a knack for applying these teachings to modern-day society. This method of mindfulness was a crucial tool for a self-confessed introvert and enabled him to find a way to connect with himself better and also with those around him.

Today we speak in great depth about the different ways boundaries can be set within your relationships, within yourself, and why this is truly a magnificent practice to do for yourself. Not only will you benefit from setting clearer boundaries, but those around you will benefit, even if to start with it is exceedingly uncomfortable.

After all, what is the point of spreading yourself so thin and saying “yes” to everything that comes your way? Does anyone win in the end? No one gets the best of you, and you certainly don’t get the best of yourself. It’s so important to think about the life you’re trying to create for yourself, the people you want to surround yourself with, and what is truly within your capacity. You can only do so many things well. Not everything needs to be done now, and not everything needs to be done by you.


  • [08:32]: Paul’s origin story

  • [10:42]: Saying “No” is an example of boundary setting for yourself

  • [11:42]: Exploring the difference between setting boundaries and making demands

  • [12:12]: Boundaries make a person feel protected. Demands make a person feel unsafe.

  • [13:42]: The perception of boundary-setting as selfish and how deeper thought can reveal the benefit for both parties involved.

  • [14:02]: Paul shares an example from his personal life where boundaries were necessary to benefit both parties

  • [15:52]: Tips to using boundaries to your own advantage in your relationships and the challenges faced in setting them

  • [17:27]: Boundaries don’t and sometimes shouldn’t necessarily last forever as relationships naturally change over time

  • [18:12]: Self-care by saying “No” and setting boundaries is contagious and inspires those around you to protect their own time

  • [19:22]: Being a “Yes” person and the problems that can come with it

  • [21:07]: If we don’t know how to care for ourselves, we can’t help others to care for themselves

  • [21:29]: The five daily practices to teach you how to care for yourself

  • [24:12]: Paul shares an experience from his introverted years where he was perturbed by a random insult he received on the street and now, post the internal work, he frames it all differently

  • [26:26]: It’s easy to blame others for how you are feeling

  • [27:17]: The difference between blaming others or blaming ourselves

  • [28:35]: Paul discusses how a late train can be a vehicle for re-thinking responsibility and effecting self-discovery

  • [31:10]: How blaming others makes us feel entitled to other people’s care

  • [31:51]: Making a personal vow within ourselves is a way of setting boundaries and leading to behavioural change

  • [32:12]: The 5 facets of mindfulness training in Buddhism

  • [36:24]: Don’t be afraid to enlist the support of your friends to strengthen your boundaries