How often do you find yourself thinking “I should do this” or “I should do that”? Many of us were raised to think we’ll offend someone if we say no, so we often say yes when it’s the last thing we want to do. Then you begrudgingly do the thing or attend the event. Though you may be there physically, your attitude will be a dead giveaway. It just makes it unpleasant for everyone involved. I was guilty of this recently. I said yes to something I should have said no to last week. Someone asked me out, and my gut feeling was a firm ‘no’. What can I say? I guard my time jealously, and I would have preferred to stay at home with a good book. I knew this when he asked me. I knew the answer was no. Immediately. No ifs or buts. Yet I agreed because I didn't want to be rude. I bet you can guess how that turned out. It was the longest half hour of my life. Yes, yes, it was only half an hour, but it felt so much longer. We had nothing in common, and the strange vibe I'd picked up on before, was amplified face to face. He rolled his eyes and sneered when I said something he didn't agree with. Which was often. My gut had shouted "say no", but I'd chosen to ignore it against my better judgement. It wasn't a huge time investment, but it showed me that my gut feeling is still valid and that I should allow myself to say no when I feel it necessary, despite the potential backlash it may elicit.
Being able to say yes wholeheartedly requires sometimes saying no. If someone is able to say no when they don't want to do something, they're good at setting boundaries. It's obviously still a work in progress for me. People with good boundaries are all in when they say yes, because saying yes is not something they've done just to please or placate you, but because they genuinely want to do it. Saying yes then comes from a place of fullness, not from trying to draw from an empty well that is bone dry. I'd much rather hear an honest no than face a half-hearted attempt at keeping me happy. Similarly, I want to be the kind of person who can say yes wholeheartedly, and show up fully present. Don't we owe that to ourselves and one another?
When someone is firm with their no, you can trust them when they say yes. I think we've been conditioned to believe that saying no is selfish. Think about it, how often do you hear yourself saying "I should"? Using the word 'should' is a gigantic red flag flapping in the wind, signalling your obvious lack of enthusiasm. And that is ok. Not everything is meant for us. A solid 'no' can create the space needed for the right opportunities. Think of 'no' as creating space. Isn't that something we all desperately need?
This week I challenge you to think twice about saying yes, especially when you catch yourself saying "I should". The list of what we should do in life is a lot shorter than we tell ourselves it is.
Until next time, Marinda