rDo you ever come away from an interaction feeling tired, depleted of just off? Do you feel like much of your life is spent doing things for everyone else leaving you little time for yourself and the things that bring you joy and give you energy? You may be saying Yes when you mean No and by doing so inadvertently giving away your power. Our power is an internally generated energy source and a valuable one at that, are you are ready to protect it?
Saying Yes to the Wrong Things
When we say yes to things that are not right for us we move out of alignment, and being in alignment is what gives us joy, energy and power. When was the last time you agreed to do something you didn't really want to do? Probably not that long ago. We do this with the greatest of intentions, to be nice, to be kind or to appear generous with our money or our time, but do you know that this comes at a great personal cost? It is like a barrel with a small hole in it, you don´t notice the trickle of water seeping away but one day you look inside and it´s all gone and like the water our energy and power will dry up unless we plug that hole and learn to say no.
The solution to this one may seem obvious enough-stop doing things you don´t want to do however it can be a hard habit to break, partly because as an ingrained pattern we don´t even notice when we are saying yes when we want to say no so it may take some time to recognize the dissonance. Creating lasting change takes a lot of energy, and every time you say a reluctant yes to someone else you say HELL NO to yourself. It´s time to flip that on it´s head and start saying YES to YOU. Here are some tips to help break that cycle.
When someone asks you to do something, go somewhere or even offers to do something for you, you don't have to respond right away. Take your time and resist the temptation to commit immediately. You can politely thank them for their offer or acknowledge their request and let them know you will get back to them shortly. This will give you the space to explore how it feels for you and whether you want to accept or decline.
Notice How it Feels in Your Body
Connect to your body and see what messages you are receiving. Our bodies contain a wisdom that we tend to ignore and we live largely disconnected from the intelligence it holds. Do you feel a constriction, a tightness or heaviness in your body? Or do you feel a sense of expansion and lightness? When I am faced with doing something that I don´t want to do my body sends me messages that are loud and clear, I feel the resistance almost as if my body is trying to back away from the situation and I notice an uncomfortable dense sensation in front of my chest area, when my Yes is a genuine Yes it feels light and expansive and there is a more subtle sensation that resembles excitement. Where do your Yes’s and No’s show up in your body? In your stomach or your jaw? Your throat or your back? What does it feel like? Everyone has different warning signs that you are about to betray themselves but once you get to know what yours are they will become some of the most valuable tools you possess.
Look at Your Motivation
If, once you've learnt to listen to the language of your body, you still find yourself saying yes when you mean no then it is a good time to look at the motivation behind it, which can reveal a great deal of useful information. Exploring your motivation for going against yourself is a wonderful opportunity for unmasking the hidden fears and limiting beliefs that keep you stuck - just remember as you are learning new ways moving towards new ways of showing up in the world to be compassionate with yourself and leave judgement to one side.
Do any of these feel familiar?
You feel like you owe someone for "all they´ve done for you"?
You are afraid of rejection, looking bad or appearing selfish?
You think your needs are less important than other peoples?
You can think of a more of reasons to say yes than to say no.
You feel like it's your responsibility or an obligation.
You don´t owe anyone anything, you are only responsible for you and if something doesn't feel good that is reason enough to not do it. And don´t worry that you´ll turn into a selfish, miserable old git, the great pay off of doing this work is that you will give with a fuller heart as it will come from a more authentic place within you.
"No is a complete Sentence" Susan Gregg
(It was Susan Gregg who said that by the way, not Oprah!)
We can just smile and say no, but that´s really difficult for most of us and there are ways to bubble wrap your no- thanks but no, not this time, that won´t be possible, maybe some other time. Do however resist the temptation to offer excuses for your no, a rookie mistake that is dis-empowering, can weaken your resolve and result in an unwanted yes. If you can speak your truth along with your no it is really empowering and you may feel inclined to provide a reason, offering an alternative solution can also soften the blow. But sometimes the only solution is the good old one-word sentence-No!
Reaping the Rewards
Learning how to say no more often makes our Yes more powerful, more inspired and more authentic, it also gives us energy and makes us feel more empowered, and it gets rid of lot of mental clutter which creates time and space for us to use in more fruitful ways like becoming the best version of ourselves.
What are you going to say no to today?