No thank you.
Sorry, I’m just too busy.
Nope. Not gonna do it. Not available.
That doesn’t work for me.
Are you kidding?
These are all the ways I’ve learned to say “No.” After years of feeling like I’d taken on too much, I learned, in part thanks to the women’s mags who ran banner headlines like “Say No Now!” to say “No.” I put more boundaries in place. Prioritized my time. Stuck up for myself and said “No” when I wanted and needed to. And, I became comfortable there. As time went on, though, those boundaries became longer and wider and life became more predictable and routine.
So, my 2010 New Year’s resolution was to reverse the trend and say “Yes” to more things. To allow things back into my life. To open to new experiences.
It’s not like I abandoned common sense altogether. I cannot do it all, nor do I want to. Sometimes “No” is necessary and important. But, instead of rattling off any one of the phrases above by rote, now I slow down, and think before answering. And I become conscious about why I’m inclined to say “No.” By doing that, I have become at least open to the possibility of a “Yes.”
My “Nos” are usually a result of a prior comittment or lack of energy, or lack interest. And, those I figure, are good reasons for nay-saying. But, just as often I found — and this was suprising to me – that I was saying “No” because I was afraid of saying “Yes.”
I would say “No” because in the moment it felt easier than trying to small talk at a party or reconnect with old friends or blog about my vulnerabilities and insecurities. But “No” can also be very constrictive. Very routine. Very safe and uninspired and uncreative.
So, now, when I’m prone to say “No” out of fear or insecurity, I say “Yes” and in a crazy, fun way my life has opened up again. I’ve begun talking more publicly about the things that move me – and my writing has become fresher and more interesting. I made an hour-long trip to meet with an old friend and felt energized and alive as a result. I actually go out and do fun things — smack dab in the middle of the week now – gasp. I signed up for a class I didn’t think I had time for, and I love it. And all this yes-ness has energized me.
Jennifer McLean, author of The Big Book of You and host of “Healing With the Masters” teleseminar talks about the vibrational properties of “Yes.” Just saying it and feeling it is expansive, she says. It raises the energy, and that expansion feeds you into the flow of the Universe.
Try it today. Consider why you’re inclined to say “No” and if it’s because you’re afraid, consider saying “Yes” instead. Surprise yourself and feel the energy that comes with saying “Yes” to life.