A good firm “no” is hard to come by in most women’s lives–and we’re not talking about the campaign related to drugs that most of us heard in middle school. Socialized as we are to please others, we buy into the unrealistic expectation that pleasing is even perfectly possible. And so we say “yes”–to another event, another task, another responsibility, all in the hopes of making everybody happy. Creating happiness and getting approval are worthy goals–until we find ourselves getting pulled into the depths of too much responsibility. The Berenstain Bears and the Over-committed Woman never made it into print, and Jan Berenstain, coauthor of that series, died last month at the age of 88. So I guess we won’t get to read that one over and over at bedtime.
I learn so much from my clients; thanks to one for this shift in perspective on saying “no.” Every time we say “no,” we are actually saying “yes” to something else. This realization freed me a great deal, as it settled into my brain, allowing some old perceptions to release and drift away like the cotton from the North Texas trees. Wow. Sayng no to another work commitment means saying yes to more down time. “No” to a second helping translates to “yes” to a smaller size. “No” to a volunteer job turns into “yes” to time to vacuum my own kitchen floor, reaping the benefits of greater control of my home. Or maybe saying no to bothering about dust bunnies and scattered cat litter means saying yes to time for creativity. Letting go of anger–“no, I don’t have to react to that”– opens the way for compassion to flow in. “Yes,” replacing negative feeling for positive, like water finding it’s level.
A simple little word. It’s another powerful shift in perspective, just the kind I love, that can transform the whole world. What can you say “yes” to today?
“No” to a longer blog means “yes” to running off to yoga.